Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Child Sleep Apnea – Symptoms & Risk Factors


If your child has OSA they may:
  • Snore, have labored breathing or stop breathing during sleep 
  • Have a rib cage that moves inward as the child inhales
  • Have body movements and arousals from sleep
  • Sweat during sleep
  • Sleep with the neck overextended\
  • Have excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Be hyperactive or exhibit aggressive behavior
  • Have a slow rate of growth
  • Have morning headaches
  • Wet the bed

Risk Factors

OSA occurs in about two percent of young children. It can develop in children at any age, but it is most common in preschoolers. OSA often occurs between the ages of 3 and 6 years when the tonsils and adenoids are large compared to the throat. OSA appears to occur at the same rate in young boys and girls. How often it occurs in infants and teens is unknown. OSA also is common in children who are obese.

Children with an abnormal facial structure are at risk for OSA. It is common in children with Down syndrome. It also may occur in children with neuromuscular diseases. Children with cerebral palsy or sickle cell disease may be more likely to develop OSA. An operation that corrects a cleft palate also can produce OSA.

OSA is more likely to occur in a child who has a family member with OSA.
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