A Parent’s Guide to Sleep Apnea in Children
Sleep apnea is commonly misunderstood as one of those diseases that only affect overweight adults. Contrary to that preconceived notion, sleep apnea can also affect children. In fact, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 1% to 4% of children have sleep apnea between ages 2 to 8 years old.
How to Identify Sleep Apnea in Children?
Three months after bringing home their infant, Kevin and Amanda Cook noticed that their son Caden has episodes of breathing pauses during sleep. Amanda had watched her son go “just completely limp” and “unresponsive” and had to rouse him repeatedly to get him to breathe again. At 6 months, Caden was taken to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California and got diagnosed with both obstructive and central sleep apnea. The former occurs when the airway is blocked during sleep, and the latter takes place when the brain fails to regulate the breathing muscles during sleep.