Sleep Apnea in babies – should you be worried?

Sleep Apnea in babies

Sleep apnea is a condition where babies are unable to breathe while they sleep. This can cause many different health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease later in life.

Sleep apnea is common among infants, but it can be prevented with proper treatment before it becomes severe.

In this post, we will discuss what causes sleep apnea in babies, if you should worry about your infant’s breathing at night. And more importantly how you can prevent it.

What causes baby sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea in babies is caused by a blockage of the airway. This can happen when they are born prematurely, have enlarged tonsils or adenoids (tonsil and/or sinus infections), or an abnormally small jawbone that causes their tongue to fall back into the throat during sleep – this condition may be present at birth.

Obstructive sleep apnea may also occur if they have an abnormally shaped palate as well.

Some children may have a genetic predisposition to sleep apnea. This means that they are more likely than other kids their age, or even adults in the same family with similar traits and features (such as small jawbone) of developing this condition because it runs through generations within families – but not all cases can be traced back like these.

What are the signs of sleep apnea in babies?

It’s important to know the signs of sleep apnea in babies.

If your baby is making grunting or snoring sounds while sleeping, has pauses during breathing for 15 seconds at a time, and/or wakes up gasping after these episodes it could be an indication that they have this condition.

How common are cases? It’s estimated to affect about one out every five hundred babies.

Should you be worried about your infant’s breathing at night?

The answer to this question is yes. If the baby has sleep apnea, they may not get enough oxygen and their heart rate will drop during periods of blocked airway – which can lead them into a coma or death if left untreated for too long without intervention from medical professionals

Is sleep apnea common in babies?

Infants born prematurely that are smaller in size are more likely to have infant sleep apnea. However, it has also been found in larger preterm or even full-term infants.

Sleep apnea occurs in less than four percent of babies under the age of six months. During the first month after birth, it occurs in 84 percent of infants who weigh less than 2.2 pounds.

The main types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax
  • Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

Does Infant sleep apnea go away?

Sleep apnea in infants usually goes away on its own by the time they are six months old.

If it doesn’t go away, your doctor will prescribe a CPAP machine to help with breathing and sleep apnea symptoms during night-time hours when you’re sleeping in bed or napping while sitting up.

Can a child die from sleep apnea?

The truth is that it’s difficult to pinpoint whether children die from sleep apnea or the related diseases that seem to accompany children with the disorder.

A research study done in 2013, published in the Thorax BMJ journal, revealed that kids with obstructive sleep apnea are 6.5 times more prone to die prematurely than other kids.

This is a scary statistic for any parent who suspects their child or baby suffers from sleep apnea.

However, it’s important to note the age range was in children 0-19 years old and not all deaths were as a direct result of sleep apnea.

What it showed is that these kids are more susceptible to illness before and after being diagnosed with apnea.

These pauses can last up to a full two minutes and can occur hundreds of times over the course of one night.

Sleep apnea does happen on its own but it’s often shown to be an “accompanying disease” because there are other more serious diseases alongside the apnea.

This makes it hard to figure out exactly why these children lose their lives.

How to prevent sleep apnea in babies

Sleep apnea in babies is a serious condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible because it can lead the baby to have developmental problems and even death if not taken care of properly.

Fortunately, there are ways for you or your doctor’s office staff members who have experience with children under six months old to help prevent sleep-apnea in your baby:

  1. Use a firm mattress and no pillows and blankets: The first step is to make sure that the crib or bassinet has a firm mattress and no pillows, blankets, etc., because these can cause suffocation if they’re too close around their face when sleeping which will lead them to have sleep apnea as well so it’s important for you not only get them a firm mattress but also to make sure that there’s nothing in the crib or bassinet with them.
  2. Make sure your babies face isn’t covered: Make sure that you’re not putting your baby down for a nap or bedtime with their face covered. This can lead to trouble breathing and suffocation. It’s generally better to also put your baby on their back when sleeping – this can also help prevent SIDS in infants.
  3. Use a sleep apnea and breathing detection monitor: If the first two steps don’t work then it’s important and necessary as parents of babies who suffer from this condition called “sleep-apnea” which means breathing stops during sleep, that you get them a sleep apnea and breathing detection monitor.


Sleep apnea in babies can be scary thing but with the right steps and treatments, it can be prevented.

If you’re not sure if your baby has sleep apnea or is showing signs of having this condition then talk to your doctor about having an examination done on your child which can reveal whether there’s a problem with breathing during sleeping hours because babies who suffer from “sleep-apnea” can have a hard time waking up and this is dangerous.

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