We’ve written about the importance of a good night sleep many times. But it is a message worth repeating.
Sleep disturbances, including obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), are common in children. But they can result in significant health problems if left untreated, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In a revised clinical practice guideline, the AAP recommends that all children or adolescents who snore regularly should be screened for OSAS.
OSAS can result in behavioral issues, cardiovascular problems, poor growth and developmental delays. Recent studies also show an association between childhood sleep problems and obesity.
But with treatment, significant improvements can be made. Adenotonsillectomy, or removal of the tonsils and adenoids, can be effective in treating OSAS and is recommended by the AAP as the first line of therapy. Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP may be an option, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.
A good night’s sleep is key to a happy and healthy infant, toddler, or child, says Anne Welch, M.D., a member of the Arizona Chapter of the AAP. A lack of quality sleep can affect growth, development and school performance.
Not all snoring is dangerous, says Welch, who practices at Banner Health Center- Maricopa, but if you hear your child snoring or notice any disruptions in breathing while your child sleeps, talk to your pediatrician.
The problem may be normal and require no intervention, or may be treatable with common medications, she says. In some cases, however, a more in-depth evaluation, such as a sleep study, may be recommended.
A pediatrician is the best resource for parents to help determine if a sleep study is needed, says Welch. He or she can recommend a center specially trained and prepared for pediatric patients, which is critical for obtaining accurate, helpful information.
Keeping kids safe and healthy also means protecting them from unnecessary stressful procedures. Says Welch, “Always work closely with your pediatrician when deciding what needs to be done.”