Although sleep apnea is
usually associated with adults, sleep apnea also appears in infant
or young children. Apnea, which means “no breath,” is
a condition that is characterized by a person not breathing for
periods of time during sleep. Sleep apnea in infant children appears
mostly in premature infants, but can also happen to children ages
2 to 5. Healthy infants can also acquire the condition due to acid
reflux disease, an infection, anemia, or hypoglycemia, which is
low blood sugar. These are all treatable causes.
There are three different kinds of sleep apnea that can appear in
Obstructive—this type of sleep apnea
in infant children occurs when a baby’s airways are narrowed
and blocked. This can occur due to poor muscle tone of the airway
Central—this occurs when the brain
doesn’t send the right signals to the respiratory muscles.
Mixed—as the name implies, this type
of sleep apnea in infant children is a combination of obstructive
and central sleep apnea.
Detecting sleep apnea in infant
children is essential because the disorder can lead to low blood
oxygen and inevitably cause brain damage. Sleep apnea in infant
children can also cause undue strain on the infant’s heart
and lungs and possibly cause respiratory arrest or even death. Doctors
Treating curable causes for the sleep apnea
Learning infant/baby CPR
Asking your pediatrician about medications
your infant can take for the condition
Asking your doctor what positions they suggest
your infant sleep in.
Parents should look out for symptoms like
loud snoring and irritability. Your infant may not be getting the
appropriate amount of sleep they need. If you see signs of sleep
apnea in your infant, call your doctor immediately.