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Snoring in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Snoring is a noise that your child may make while breathing during sleep. People snore when the flow of air from the mouth or nose to the lungs makes the tissues of the throat vibrate while they sleep. This usually is caused by a blockage or narrowing in the nose, mouth, or throat (airway).

Snoring can be soft, loud, raspy, harsh, hoarse, or fluttering. You may notice that your child sleeps with his or her mouth open and that your child is restless while sleeping. If snoring interferes with your child's sleep, he or she may feel tired during the day.

You may be able to help reduce your child's snoring by making changes in his or her activities and in the way he or she sleeps.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Talk to your child's doctor to see if they'll need tests because of the snoring.
  • Help your child lose weight, if needed. Many people who snore are overweight. Weight loss can help reduce the narrowing of the airway and might reduce or stop snoring.
  • Make sure that your child goes to bed at the same time each night and gets plenty of sleep. Your child may snore more when your child has not had enough sleep.
  • Have your child sleep on their side. Sleeping on the side may stop snoring. Try sewing a pocket in the middle of the back of your child's pyjama top, putting a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitching it closed. This will help keep your child from sleeping on their back.
  • Treat your child's breathing problems. Breathing problems caused by colds or allergies can disturb airflow. This can lead to snoring.
  • Have your child use a device that helps keep the airway open during sleep. Make sure it is approved for use in kids. For example, nasal strips widen the nostrils and improve airflow.
  • Keep your child away from smoke. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your house. Smoking may increase your child's risk of snoring.
  • If your child is older than 12 months, raise the head of your child's bed a little bit by putting bricks under the legs of the bed. This may prevent your child's tongue from falling toward the back of the throat, which can make a blocked or narrow airway worse. Putting pillows under your child's head will not help.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child snores, and he or she feels sleepy during the day.
  • Your child gasps, chokes, or stops breathing during sleep.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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