Kids do the darndest things, but persistent, loud snoring shouldn’t be one of them. While it’s common for some kids to snore slightly in their sleep, there are some things to watch out for that might call for a visit to your ENT. 

So if you’re wondering if your child snores, and whether to get them checked out, Dr. Christopher Grindle, Connecticut Children’s ear, nose and throat expert, weighs in.

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Know the possible reasons why kids snore.

When kids sleep, their mouth and nose muscles are relaxed. This means the tissues inside can come together and cause snoring. Kids snore if they have:

  • Congestion—due to a common cold or the swelling of tissue in the nose from allergies
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids—some kids have larger tonsils or adenoids, or both. This can definitely contribute to snoring. Your ENT may recommend a treatment with medications or a procedure for this such as a tonsillectomy or an adenoidectomy.

But it’s just snoring, right?

Sometimes, snoring is just snoring, but sometimes it is obstructive sleep apnea.  This happens when those “relaxed” tissues and muscles come together to the point of “obstructing” sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition that may need to be treated and there are many different treatments available to meet the varying needs of children.

Also, as kids grow and develop, their upper airway can change.  Problematic snoring from large tonsils and/or adenoids may not start to until three to four years of age and it may progress over time. 

Young boy sleeping in bed

Watch out for the signs of sleep-disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea.

If you notice any of these, give your ENT a call. Look out for:

  • Persistent, loud snoring every night
  • Poor quality of sleep along with the snoring
  • Frequent tossing, turning and moving in bed, and struggling to find a comfortable position—often with the head back and mouth open
  • Difficulty breathing, or gasping and pausing while they breathe, with obvious snorting sounds to catch their breath. One or two episodes a night may be ok, but if this happens multiple times an hour, there’s a good chance it’s obstructive sleep apnea or something else on the spectrum of sleep-disordered breathing

>Related: 3 Bedtime Challenges Your Kids Might Be Having Now – and How to Solve Them

If you’re concerned about your child’s loud and persistent snoring, an ENT doctor can help.

Connecticut Children’s ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists are here to give you answers and help you make the best decision for your child’s care. When you visit, you and your child can expect an evaluation that may include:

  • A physical exam—your child’s doctor will examine them for symptoms. They will use a scope to look at their tonsils and adenoids and, if needed, order an x-ray or additional imaging.
  • A referral for a sleep study—your child will stay comfortably overnight in the Connecticut Children’s Sleep Center where board-certified sleep physicians and sleep psychologists will monitor their breathing, eye movement, sleep stages and other sleep-related behaviors.
  • Treatment with medications or procedures—oftentimes, a prescription nasal spray, an anti-inflammatory allergy medication or surgery—if needed—can help solve your child’s snoring and sleep problems.

A well-rested family is a content family. Don’t hesitate to turn to a Connecticut Children’s ear, nose and throat expert to help you get there!