Tag Archives: mouth breathers

Snoring linked to behavior problems in children

Children who snore or who have other sleep-related breathing problems are more likely to have behavioral problems years later, says a new study to be published in the April 2012 issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers asked a group of parents about their children’s snoring, mouth breathing, observed apnea and behavior, starting at age 6 months and then periodically until age 7 years.

By age 4, the children with sleep-disordered breathing were 20 percent to 60 percent more likely to have behavioral difficulties. By age 7, the likelihood jumped to 40 to 100 percent.

The worst symptoms were associated with the worst behavioral outcomes, meaning that the kids who faced more serious sleep-related breathing problems also tended to be more likely to struggle with behavior issues.

Study authors conclude that sleep-disordered breathing early in life can have a strong effect on behavior later in childhood.

Kids who have these difficulties may miss out on critical periods of brain development that researchers believe take place during deep sleep.

The study findings suggest that these symptoms may require attention as early as the first year of life.

Dr. Mark Brown, pediatric pulmonologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and a member of the Arizona Chapter of the AAP, weighs in on kids and snoring:

 When should a parent be concerned about snoring?

  •  When a child can be heard snoring outside of their room.
  • When a child has disrupted sleep with short “pauses, snorts, or gasps” in their sleep.
  • If the child is having behavioral problems, a short attention span and problems at school.
  • If the child, especially an older child, frequently falls asleep during the day (i.e. in the car, during a TV show or movie, while reading).
  • In severe cases, there can be difficulty with weight gain or obesity, or high blood pressure.

Is a little light snoring okay?

Light snoring without any of the above associated signs/symptoms may be “normal.” If there is any concern, the parent should consult with their child’s primary care physician.

How do you know when snoring needs medical attention?

 If any of the above signs/symptoms are seen or if the parent is unsure about the significance of their child’s snoring they should consult with their child’s primary care physician.

RAK Archives: More on the consequences of too little sleep, and what families can do about it.

RAK Resources on respiratory issues: Take a Deep Breath by Dr. Nina Shapiro

Find out what technicians at the Sleep Center at Cardon Children’s Medical Center learn by watching children sleep:


Take a deep breath…and clear the air for your baby

I thought I knew plenty about newborns. But I didn’t know that they are obligate nasal breathers, which means they cannot breathe through their mouths until they are around four months old.

I also didn’t really ever understand how to use saline solution to clear a new baby’s nose. (Four kids, and I never learned this? Imagine how many hours of sleep I lost!) Or that toxins from the clothes of a tobacco smoker are enough to cause irritation to the respiratory system.

Or that if you can hear a child snoring from the next room, it could indicate a significant sleep problem — such as sleep apnea.

Ear, nose and throat specialist Nina Shapiro, M.D., has published a book with plenty of new information on breathing problems in babies and young children.

Take a Deep Breath: Clear the Air for the Health of Your Child offers a look at the function of the entire respiratory system in the very early years so that parents can better understand what is normal and what is not.

The book is divided in to sections based on age- from newborn to five years. Each chapter presents the information that parents are most likely to wonder about during that particular age.

Shapiro, who is  director of pediatric otolaryngology and an associate professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, formats the close of each chapter with a nice re-cap based on the “big picture,” what is normal, (don’t worry) and when to become concerned and seek medical attention (worry).

A book that focuses on the respiratory system is a great resource for parents, especially in the first few weeks of life. As Shapiro explains, a clearer understanding of the anatomy of the air passages, where the windpipe is in relation to the esophagus, and how the entire, minuscule system must work together in order for a baby to thrive can help to make caring for a baby a little less daunting.

Shapiro weighs in on proper sleeping positions (back remains best to help prevent SIDS), the immune system and vaccines, (get them) and air quality issues within the home. She describes in detail the little noises that babies and young children can make  while breathing or sleeping and explains just what those sounds can mean.

Take a Deep Breath  is packed with respiratory specifics that until now have been glossed over in other more general books on child health. Information abounds on sore throats, but should a parent be concerned if a child has a hoarse voice? How do you tell apart a bad cold from a sinus infection? Would you recognize pertussis? Or, what do you do if you sense a foul odor coming from a toddler’s nose?

Shapiro’s work would make a great resource to any new parent’s print library. It’s always a plus when a highly-trained medical specialist provides essential information in a usable and very readable format.

If you have a new baby, this one isn’t going to gather dust on the shelf. And if you’re worried about dust, check out chapter seven…