Sleep Apnea in Pediatric Patients

song of my people

As I am not a parent myself, I don’t think I could possibly begin to fathom the amount of terror that a mother or father might experience if their child were to ever stop breathing, especially while asleep. Sure, I can relate as one person to another, but for a parent, that experience is something different entirely.

More often than not, the cause of the prevention of air is due to sleep apnea. I know that is pretty weird to process, right? Kids suffering from obstructive sleep apnea… There is no way! Well, you’d be wrong.

Sleep apnea does not have a certain age in which it just magically appears. Just as it is most commonly found in middle aged to older adults that fit a certain criteria (weight, neck circumference, etc.), sleep apnea can also be found in young children – although their criteria is a little different. For children, starting as young as newborns, the thing that tends to cause obstruction in the airways is enlarged tonsils or adenoids. An adenoid is an enlarged mess of lymphoid tissue at the back of the throat. Keep in mind that family genetics and childhood obesity can play a part in whether a child (in this case, a child a little older) may develop sleep apnea as well.


Side effects of children suffering from sleep apnea, aside from the obvious shallow breathing or no breathing at all while asleep, include behavioral issues, social problems, difficulty waking up, headaches (especially during the morning hours), irritable or cranky behavior, and even being so sleepy throughout the day that the child actually falls asleep. In teenagers, it is not uncommon for them to slip into depression.

The easiest fix for sleep apnea in children is to remove the tonsils or adenoids since that is the most common cause of the obstruction. After the tonsils have been removed, results are almost instantaneous and most symptoms of sleep apnea disappear completely.

There are some cases, however, where the child does not have enlarged tonsils… What then? How are parents able to help their children when there is pretty much no underlying cause as to what stops them from breathing properly?


This is where a CPAP machine comes in. Children are able to use the same machine as adults; the masks are a little different though. There are pediatric masks that are made for children to use that will provide a better fit than a traditional adult mask. CPAP or BI-PAP machines are not the only thing that can help children, there is also the option of oral appliances – this option is best for adolescents whose facial structure is mostly complete.


In either stage of life – adolescents or adulthood, sleep apnea is not a condition to take lightly. The first step is speaking with a doctor about the symptoms that you or your child is experiencing and going from there. Once a sleep study is completed, and you know for sure that you are suffering from sleep apnea steps can be taken to rectify the situation.

Visit our website to place an order for your child’s pediatric masks, or give us a call at 866-634-0177 for information about the product and the other services that we offer. A representative will be more than happy to answer any and all questions in regards to sleep apnea.

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