Treatment and Management of Sleep Apnea for Children

Sleep therapists may explore different toddler sleep apnea treatment options in treating sleep apnea in children. Below are various approaches that may be used to help a toddler gasping for air during sleep to have comfortable nights.

Drug therapy

Treatment of sleep apnea in children

In general, medical treatment has a limited value in the typical pediatric patient with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Therapists should prescribe oxygen therapy as the primary therapy for OSA or as they strive to offer the best remedies on how to prevent sleep apnea in babies. The use of antihistamine or antimuscarinic in sleep therapy may cause relief in cases of nasal congestion, even though the sustained benefit is uncertain.


According to pediatric CPAP guidelines, Adenotonsillectomy combined with weight normalization is considered the first line of therapy in children and adolescents suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Removing the tonsils and adenoids surgically increases cross-sectional airway caliber in patients. Remarkably, that does not directly affect the fatty infiltration of the soft tissues of the velopharynx and hypopharynx that happens in children who are obese.

Generally, children with obstructive sleep apnea who are obese need follow-up polysomnography 8-12 weeks following adenotonsillectomy to evaluate residual sleep apnea and establish whether other interventions like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are required.

Children with severe obstructive sleep apnea need overnight hospital observation after adenotonsillectomy. That is especially if they fall into one of the high-risk groups. The absence of snoring following surgery is not the same as an absence of obstructive apnea.

Dietary restrictions

Caloric intake limitation and nutritional counseling are necessary for sleep apnea in children natural treatment. That is mainly if obesity complicates obstructive apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea may worsen gastroesophageal reflux and baby sleep apnea reflux. Children and adolescents with significant sleep apnea should avoid taking large amounts of food before bedtime. That should be the case, particularly if children are being treated with CPAP, which can cause air swallowing and gastric distention.

Children with obstructive sleep apnea

Introduce a suitable diet in patients who are obese to facilitate weight reduction. Weight reduction is most effective with the help of a nutritionist or an established weight reduction program. Nevertheless, such programs have a low success rate, and thus surgical intervention for severe obesity is increasingly considered in older children. Even though bariatric surgery is primarily deemed a treatment option for adults, it is considered in adolescents.

Activity restrictions

Many individuals with obstructive sleep apnea have daytime sleepiness with decreased attention span and difficulty concentrating on breathing. There are also cases where a toddler pauses breathing while awake. Experts warn teenagers who drive about the lurking danger of falling asleep at the wheel. It is advisable to advise them to avoid driving long distances without a break or driving when they are abnormally tired. Numerous epidemiologic studies link obstructive sleep apnea to most motor vehicle accidents.

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