Pediatric sleep-disordered breathing is a condition in which your child stops breathing while asleep. This can range from minor disruptions that are mostly harmless to life-threatening. Breathing disruptions can cause extreme fatigue, leading to a whole host of other health, growth, and behavioral problems. Being an informed parent is imperative to your child’s health, quality of life, and future well-being. Don’t let your child fight to breathe every night. Learn about pediatric sleep-disordered breathing and save your child’s future.

What Do Breathing Disruptions Look Like?

A child’s breathing disruption looks similar to adult breathing disruptions. It might produce itself as snoring. While snoring in children can be cute, you shouldn’t take snoring lightly. Many doctors see snoring as the first step in a continuum that leads to obstructive sleep apnea in kids. Children snore because soft tissues in their throat are partially blocking their airway. The sound you hear is the tissues vibrating as air is rushing past. A sleep disruption could also be coughing, choking, or gasping for breath in their sleep. Finally, sleep disruptions could be an all-out stoppage of breathing. These pauses can last anywhere from 8 seconds or longer.

Why Is My Child Having Trouble Breathing?

little girl peacefully sleeping in her bed, cuddling with her stuffed animal
Children can have trouble breathing at night for a host of different reasons. To make sense of it, let’s first look at the different types of pediatric sleep-disordered breathing.

Snoring: As mentioned, snoring is when the soft tissues in your child’s throat sag and vibrate due to air rushing past.

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS): Similar to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, this syndrome is also characterized by the sagging of soft tissue that partially blocks your child’s airway. While snoring doesn’t cause daytime sleepiness, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome does, but the blockage is not enough to be meet sleep apnea criteria.

Obstructive Hypopnea: This is the third stage before obstructive sleep apnea criteria are met. Obstructive Hypopnea is similar to UARS but more severe.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most severe case of pediatric sleep-disordered breathing. Soft tissues can become looser yet, blocking or completely obstructing your child’s airway. When this happens, your child’s brain will alert the body to begin breathing and wake them up. They may not notice these awakenings, but they disrupt the sleep cycle and have dangerous consequ