Is Your Child Snoring? Understanding the Causes and Risks

child snoring

Child snoring at night is a common concern that affects many parents worldwide. While occasional snoring might be harmless, persistent and loud snoring can indicate underlying issues that require attention. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the basics of childhood snoring, explore its causes, risks, and complications, discuss how to identify and diagnose the problem, and look at various child snoring solutions. 

The Basics of Childhood Snoring

Children who snore make loud, noisy breathing sounds while sleeping. Unlike adults, who often snore due to obesity, alcohol consumption, or sleep apnea, children usually snore for different reasons. 

One common cause is the physical size and shape of their airways. Children have smaller airways than adults, which can lead to vibration and snoring during sleep. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can also contribute to snoring in children. 

Minor, occasional snoring is relatively common and can affect up to 27% of children. This type of snoring is usually not a cause for concern and is often light and temporary. 

Children suffering from primary snoring, or snoring two or more times per week without symptoms, comprise about 10 to 12% of the total population. 

Children with obstructive sleep apnea, a more severe condition, could have between 1.2% and 5.7% of their sleep disrupted. Around 70% of children with sleep-disordered breathing have primary snoring. 

Causes of Childhood Snoring

“Why do kids snore?” This common question often leaves parents concerned about their child’s well-being. Several factors contribute to childhood snoring, which differs from adult snoring. Let’s delve into the critical reasons behind why kids snore and gain valuable insights into supporting their health and overall well-being: 

A. Physical Obstructions

      Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can partially block the airways during sleep, causing snoring. 

B. Allergies and Respiratory Infections

     Allergic reactions and respiratory infections can lead to congestion and inflammation in the airways,  leading to snoring. 

C. Obesity

      Excess weight in children can pressure the airways, leading to snoring. Discover how to manage your child’s weight by reading our dedicated blog, “Safe Weight Loss for Overweight Kids.” 

D. Sleep Position

      Sleeping on the back can cause the tongue to block the airway partially, resulting in snoring. 

      Read more about the different sleep problems, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea, by reading our dedicated blog entitled “Sleeping Problems in Children: What Parents Can Do”. 

Potential Risks and Complications

If left untreated, childhood snoring can lead to various complications that affect a child’s overall health and well-being. Some potential risks include: 

  • Sleep Disruption

          Snoring can disrupt a child’s sleep patterns, leading to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 

  • Behavioral Issues

          Sleep deprivation caused by snoring may cause irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Learn how to manage your child’s behavioral issues by reading our dedicated blog entitled “When to Seek a Pediatrician for Your Child’s Behavior”. 

  • Impaired Growth

          Chronic sleep deprivation may hinder a child’s growth and development.

  • Cardiovascular Problems

          Severe cases of sleep-disordered breathing in children may increase the risk of cardiovascular issues later in life. 

Identifying and Diagnosing Childhood Snoring

Parents and caregivers should be vigilant for signs of snoring in their children. Common symptoms to look out for include: 

  1. Loud and frequent snoring at night
  2. Pauses in breathing during sleep
  3. Restless sleep and constant changes in sleep positions
  4. Night sweats and bedwetting 

If a child exhibits any of these symptoms regularly, seeking medical attention for a proper diagnosis is essential. A pediatrician may conduct a physical examination and, if necessary, recommend a sleep study to assess the severity of the snoring and identify any underlying sleep disorders. 

Treatment and Management Options

The approach to managing childhood snoring depends on its underlying cause and severity. Here are some possible treatment options: 

  1. Lifestyle Changes

          Encourage a healthy lifestyle by promoting regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, and ensuring an appropriate sleep schedule

    2. Allergy Management

          If allergies are triggering snoring, managing and avoiding allergens can help alleviate the symptoms. 

    3. Positional Therapy

         Encourage children to sleep on their side to prevent the tongue from blocking the airway. 

   4. Breathing Exercises

         Simple breathing exercises can help strengthen airway muscles, reducing snoring. 

   5. Surgical Intervention

        Doctors may recommend surgical removal for severe snoring caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

  6. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

       Healthcare providers can adapt CPAP machines, commonly used for sleep apnea treatment in adults,  for children with sleep-disordered breathing. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Snoring

  • Is it normal for toddlers to snore?

          Children with colds or respiratory infections could occasionally snore mildly. However, persistent and loud snoring may indicate an underlying issue that requires evaluation by a pediatrician. 

  • Can childhood snoring be a sign of sleep apnea?

          If your child is snoring while gasping or choking, has daytime sleepiness, or has behavioral problems, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 


Sleep Soundly: Safeguarding Your Child’s Health and Happiness from Snoring Risks 

Parents should not ignore the symptoms when a child snores, as it is a concerning issue. Even though occasional snoring is normal, persistent and loud snoring can point to an underlying problem. 

Identifying the root cause is essential for effective treatment and avoiding potential risks and complications. Children can enjoy better sleep quality, improved overall health, and a brighter future with appropriate management. If you have concerns about your child’s snoring, don’t hesitate to consult our pediatricians for proper evaluation and guidance. 


Trust the Pediatric Snoring Experts at the Children’s Medical Center of Fresno

Is your child’s snoring causing you concern? Ensure their well-being now by seeking expert guidance from the Children’s Medical Center of Fresno. Our experienced pediatricians can help you understand the causes and potential risks of childhood snoring. 

Don’t wait to address this issue! Schedule an appointment today to prioritize your child’s safety and peace of mind. Contact us at (559) 455-1500 or click the “Book An Appointment” button. 

At Children’s Medical Center of Fresno, we care about children’s health and accessibility to quality care. We offer after-hour pediatric clinic services, telemedicine options, and weekend appointments, making pediatric care convenient for you. Trust us to provide the best solutions for your child’s health. Visit us at to learn more. 

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