Snoring seems harmless in kids. You might even think it's cute, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says it's a big enough concern that kids should be regularly screened for snoring when they go to their doctors for a check-up. It is not a red flag for every child, but for some, snoring can signal Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
The A.A.P. says that is a common but under-diagnosed condition that has been linked to learning and behavior problems, bed-wetting, and high blood pressure in children. That is why the academy is advising pediatricians now that when they check height and weight, they ask about sleep habits as well, assuming that if a sleep problem is spotted early, those problems could be prevented. The A.A.P. adds one more tip for parents. That kids with Apnea may have nasal-toned voices or open-mouthed expressions from mouth-breathing.
Studies suggest about half a million children from age two to eight may suffer with Apnea, and that if parents notice snoring, they should discuss it with their child's pediatrician. The A.A.P. has published guidelines on Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the April issue of Pediatrics.
In most cases, Apnea in children is caused by large tonsils and adenoids, which can be removed with surgery. Some studies have even suggested children with Sleep Apnea may be misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorders because some of the behavior symptoms such as trouble paying attention and restlessness are similar.
Sleep experts say that likely is an underestimate because many parents and pediatricians may dismiss snoring as just an annoying habit.the guidelines are the academy's first on Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and are published in the current issue of the Academy's Medical Journal, Pediatrics.