Persistent snoring should be evaluated and may need to be treated.
By Sue Hubbard, M.D.
Does your child snore? If so, have your discussed their snoring with your pediatrician? A new study published in Pediatrics supported the routine screening and tracking of snoring among preschoolers. Pediatricians should routinely be inquiring about your child's sleep habits, as well as any snoring that occurs on a regular basis, during your child's routine visits.
Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea and/or sleep disordered breathing (SDB), and habitual snoring has been associated with both learning and behavioral problems in older children. But this study was the first to look at snoring among preschool children between the ages of 2 and 3.
The study looked at 249 children from birth until 3 years of age, and parents were asked report how often their child snored on a weekly basis at both 2 and 3 years old. Persistent snorers were defined as those who snored more than twice a week at both ages 2 and 3. Persistent loud snoring occurred in 9 percent of the children studied.
The study then looked at behavior and as had been expected, persistent snorers had significantly worse overall behavioral scores. This was noted as hyperactivity, depression and attentional difficulties. Motor development did not seem to be impacted by snoring.
So, intermittent snoring is common in the 2- to 3-year-old set and does not seem to be associated with any long-term behavioral issues. It is quite common for a young child to snore during an upper respiratory illness, as well. But persistent snoring needs to be evaluated and may need to be treated with the removal of a child's adenoids and tonsils.
If you are worried about your child's snoring, talk to your doctor. More studies are being done on this subject, as well, so stay tuned.
Dr. Sue Hubbard is a nationally known pediatrician and co-host of "The Kid's Doctor" radio show. Submit questions at www.kidsdr.com
This was printed in the December 30, 2012 - January 12, 2013 Edition