Is it OK for My Child to Snore?

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

Does your child ever snore? Most children snore from time to time, especially if they have a cold or stuffy nose. It’s estimated that up to 20% of young children snore frequently, and about 10% snore every night. Snoring can run the gamut from minor, harmless noisy breathing to a symptom of a heath problem that needs to be addressed.

For about 2-3% of children, snoring is an indication of a sleep disorder or a breathing problem that requires medical attention. So read on and find out more.

Is it okay for children to snore? @NoCrySolution Elizabeth Pantley

Ellen, 12 mths

Why snoring happens

Snoring occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax during sleep and vibrate. There are a number of things that can cause this condition, such as:

  • The airway being squeezed during a cold
  • Excessive thickness of throat tissues
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Repeated exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Health issues such as allergies, asthma, reflux (GERD), some neurological conditions, or sleep apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea (Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome or OSA/OSAS)?

If your child is a very restless, noisy sleeper, breathes through his mouth, and snores or snorts loudly, he may be suffering from a sleep condition called sleep apnea. “Apnea” means “absence of breath.” The most disturbing symptom of this sleep disorder is that the sleeper actually stops breathing for up to 30 seconds, occasionally longer, usually followed a noisy intake of breath. This is very frightening for a parent to witness, and should be taken very seriously, but in general, it is not life threatening and can be treated. The main causes of sleep apnea include a narrow throat or airway, enlarged tonsils or lymph nodes, obesity, and facial abnormalities.

Is it okay for children to snore? @NoCrySolution Elizabeth Pantley

Zephyr Rose, 11 mths

Not every child who snores has sleep apnea. Generally, however, if snoring is loud or is combined with other symptoms, apnea could be the problem. Conversely, not all children with narrow airways, enlarged tonsils, or excess weight have sleep apnea.

Apnea can cause significant sleep deprivation and compound other sleep difficulties. Continued untreated apnea can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, slowed growth, hyperactive behavior, bedwetting, and learning disabilities.

What is the cure for sleep apnea?

The most common remedy for childhood sleep apnea is removal or reduction of the tonsils and/or adenoids. Other typical treatments are enlarging the air passage, holding the passage open during sleep, or (when the condition is caused by obesity) weight loss.

Is it okay for children to snore? @NoCrySolution Elizabeth Pantley


When to check with a doctor?

If any of the following describe your child it would be wise to discuss your child’s snoring, and any other sleep symptoms, with a medical professional. You should contact your pediatrician, a sleep clinic, or an ear, nose and throat specialist if your child:

  • snores almost every night
  • snores loudly
  • is a very restless, noisy sleeper, and breathes through his mouth
  • chokes, gasps, wheezes, or holds his breath in his sleep
  • appears to be tired even after a good night’s sleep
  • sweats heavily during sleep
  • frequently wakes up with a headache
  • has a nasal sound to his voice and he regularly breathes through his mouth
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

    Need more tips? The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers provides gentle ways to stop bedtime battles and improve your child’s sleep.

    Do you have a question about your child? Ask below and it may be answered on an upcoming post!


  1. My child just completed a sleep study due to snoring, sweating heavily at night and nasal issues constantly. It came back that he does have obstruction sleep apnea which is due to tonsils and adenoids. We are currently waiting to be seen by an ENT to confirm this is the issue. He is exposed to second hand smoke by his grandmother so I try to limit the exposure as much as I can but allergies run in our family so it is a given my 4 year old will suffer with them as well. Great read and hope it helps parents out there that are experiencing this issue.

    • Thank you for the feedback Kimberly! Lots of people think snoring is “cute” or normal – it’s important that we read this as a sign of a potential problem and get it fixed. Glad you followed your intuition and got your little one on the road to better sleep.