Snoring in Children: Causes and Solutions
Snoring does not mean that your child is sick. In fact, it is very common, irrespective of age.
Frequent snoring in children can become a cause for concern. In these cases, parents often consult a pediatrician.
Your doctor may determine that your child’s snoring is absolutely normal. In any case, parents should be aware of the difference between normal snoring and snoring which may be a symptom of health issues.
Snoring is most often associated with adults, as it can be caused by conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea or obesity, or by smoking, alcohol consumption and other circumstances.
For this reason, many parents are alarmed to discover that their children are snorers.
Abnormal snoring in children
The causes of snoring in children are varied. In most cases, snoring is completely harmless and temporary.
However, depending on the intensity or characteristics of their snores, these may also be a symptom of a serious problem, or one that has the potential to be serious. The most common biological causes of snoring in children are:
- Colds. The common cold leads to increased mucus production. This can block the airways and cause children to snore in their sleep. Of course, not all children with colds will snore, and not all snoring children have a cold. It can be difficult to make the connection between abnormal snoring and a cold. This type of snoring is generally characterized by snores every few minutes.
- Asthma. This is a chronic condition, the symptoms of which include breathlessness during moments of physical effort or intense stress. Asthma also makes the airways more hyperactive and sensible to environmental conditions. This means that situations such as a cool temperature in the room where a child sleeps may cause a slight obstruction in their airways. This leads to snoring.
- Allergies. Mites, pet dander, dust or other debris may stimulate the muscles of the throat and airways, which causes obstructions during the night and difficulty breathing. This is another common cause of snoring in children.
- Obesity. Excess weight affects the neck and throat. Some children snore due to the fat deposits around their neck, which subject this part of the body to more stress and can therefore cause snoring.
- Sleep apnea. This condition causes the muscles in the top part of the throat to relax, obstructing the passage of air and causing snoring in children and adults. If sleep apnea is the cause, you may notice your child begin to snore suddenly. This happens when the affected muscles close off the airway.
Other causes of snoring in children
- Sensitivity to the cold. Even if the child does not have asthma and is not suffering from a cold, their tonsils may be sensitive to the cold. When this happens, the tonsils swell up and obstruct the passage of air. This means that many children snore in their sleep in the winter.
- Tobacco smoke. When one or more parents smokes inside the home, this can impact the development of children’s lungs. This is a frequently-underestimated cause of snoring in children. Snoring is far from the worst symptom caused by second-hand smoke. If you notice your child snoring, take steps to give up this habit. This will also help to avoid more serious conditions, such as asthma.
Solutions for snoring in children
Among the home remedies for snoring in children are a wide range of teas and infusions, massages and sleeping positions. Of course, you should look to these only when the cause of the snoring is not pathological, or to determine whether it is. Other measures that may help are:
- Moving the child to a different bedroom.
- Keeping the room at a moderate temperature, including turning the air conditioning down in summer.
- Using hypoallergenic sheets and pillows.
- Changing the child’s position when they snore.
Seeing your doctor is always a good idea if your child’s snoring is persistent and there is no obvious cause.
When should I be worried about my child snoring
The time to be concerned is when snoring affects your child’s day-to-day life. If your child experiences bad moods or persistent discomfort such as muscle pain, headaches and similar, speak to your doctor without delay.
Poor-quality sleep and lack of sleep can make snoring worse. Meanwhile, snoring itself can make children sleep more lightly and can be accompanied by sweating, shaking and other symptoms.
Pay attention to these signs when you speak to your pediatrician.