For Parents

Sleep disordered breathing (SBD) is a wide range of a persistent illness. They are united by difficulty for a child to breathe easily and regularly during sleep, which in turn may affect the oxygen level.

Signs of SBD

Common symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing can include:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Bed wetting
  • Behavioural problems
  • Inability to breathe through the nose
Possible Side Effects

Children with SBD struggle to have a good night's rest. The inability to sleep properly combined with longstanding oxygen drops may result in a number of growth and health problems. These may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Changes to the heart
  • Delayed/reduced growth
  • Behavioural problems and changes
  • Altered growth to the face and jaws leading to orthodontic problems
Children with High Chances of SDB

Large tonsils and adenoids are the commonest problems linked with SDB. Surgical removal of tonsils is often first choice treatment. However, there are other conditions and features that are linked to SDB. Managing the other conditions may be essential for successful treatment, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Environmental irritants (eg: tobacco smoke)
  • Orthodontic

Because of the complex nature of SBD, teams formed from several specialties are often required. An otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat specialist), pulmonologist (sleep and breathing specialist), and an orthodontist frequently work together for the most successful outcomes. If your child has some of the signs, symptoms, or risk factors of SBD you should talk with your child's doctor and request a referral to an ENT or sleep specialist.

If you suspect your child has SDB
  • Discuss your concerns with your Primary Care Physician (PCP), Pediatrician, or Primary Care Dentist (PCD)
  • Download and complete the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire
    If you answer "yes" to 8 or more questions, ask your PCP or PCD for a referral to a pediatric ENT, pediatric pulmonologist, or orthodontist depending on the specific concern

Easy at home steps to decrease your child's risk for SDB:

  • If you smoke, stop smoking! Even if you "only smoke outside", the smoke attached to you worsens your child's SDB.
  • If you have indoor pets, unfortunately, you must find them new, loving homes. Even mild allergies can worsen your child's SDB.
  • If your child is overweight, try to help them lose weight through fun physical activities, and a healthy diet. Excess body mass can worsen your child's SDB.
  • If your child has asthma, follow your doctor's directions precisely! Poorly managed asthma can worsen your child's SDB.