Sleep Apnea Solutions for Babies, Toddlers and Children
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
sleep apnea solutions can help
your baby, toddler or child
? When is a
breathing monitor, medication, tonsil surgery, or a CPAP
In all cases, your doctor, preferably a
specialist, will determine which remedies
best fit your child and his condition. The overview below
most common and successful solutions for kids of all
ages used today. Use them as a step-up to discuss them with your doctor.
Sleep Apnea Solutions for Babies
apnea in infants
under 1 year old is usually Central
when a failing brain signal causes the typical breathing pauses.
That means that
there is no physical blockage of the airways (which is the case with the so-called
obstructive type, typical in older children, see below).
The first step is usually a
breathing or sleep apnea monitor
While asleep your baby is connected to the monitor. It records her
breathing and heart rate and warns you as soon as they reach critical
Alternatively, or at the same time, your pediatrician may prescribe medication
Since the breathing pauses are due to a failed
brain signal, the medication will work on enhancing or improving that
is rarely prescribed for babies. Especially since with young babies no
physical blocking of the airways is involved a mask most often do not
bring much relief.
However, some pediatricians do prescribe it, for example when
your baby's sleep apnea is of the obstructive or mixed type.
Sleep Apnea Solutions for Toddlers and Older
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type above 2 years old.
- The peak age for sleep
apnea in kids
is between 2 and 6 years old. This is an age where a child's tonsils
and adenoids can typically be quite large compared to their throats and
airways. That is the reason why tonsil surgery is often very effective.
surgery or Tonsillectomy
and Adenoidectomy involves removing both the Tonsils
(glands at the back of the throat) and the Adenoids (at the back of the
is not without risks. It is a serious surgical
treatment. It will of course be avoided when diagnosis is uncertain or
if your child is at
risk of serious complications.
- A CPAP device
another possible solution, advised when the T&A surgery is
dis advised or does not help.
CPAP is for Continuous
The CPAP machine compresses the air in the room and sends it to a mask
through a hose. The mask covers the nose. the high-pressure air keeps
the airways open, avoiding the sleep apnea breathing pauses.
can be very effective, not all experts agree on its use
for youngsters. To start with, it is not comfortable to sleep with a
mask, near a machine. Use of CPAP will of course only be done in strong
agreement and cooperation between you and your child's
- In some cases, the cause can be found in obesity. Losing weight is
then a first step towards any treatment. Also other health
issues will benefit from losing weight.