Snoring: What's Normal and Not When It Comes to Your Kids

Snoring: What's Normal and Not When It Comes to Your Kids

For such small humans, it’s amazing how loud children can snore, which you’ve likely noticed if you’re reading this blog. About 1 in 10 kids snore, and the reasons behind these nighttime noises are varied.

To help you differentiate between perfectly normal childhood snoring and potentially problematic snoring, Dr. Timothy Queen and Nancy Gibson, FNP-C — the team of pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists here at Advanced ENT & Allergy — present the following information.

When to let them snore

From the moment your child enters the world, snoring is often part and parcel of growing up. As newborns, it’s not uncommon for infants to snore as they generally have noisy breathing during their first year.

As your child encounters bacterial and viral infections, nasal congestion is common, leading to a good deal of nighttime snoring as they conquer cold after cold. 

Bear in mind that kids develop about 6-8 colds each year before age 6, and all of them can lead to snoring.

When to have us evaluate your child’s snoring

If your child is snoring consistently, this likely means that the problem extends beyond normal colds and congestion.

The most common causes of snoring in children include:

Large tonsils and adenoids

The most common driver of snoring in kids is large tonsils or adenoids. This excess tissue at the back of their throat can obstruct the airways and lead to snoring as air forces through a smaller space.


If your child tends to snore during certain times of the year and there’s congestion, it may be due to allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Or, your child might have a pet, dust mite, or mold allergy causing congestion and snoring.

Deviated septum

Another common culprit behind snoring in people of all ages is a deviated septum. Your septum is that piece of tissue that separates your nostrils. If this tissue is off-center, the nostrils aren’t equal in size, which can lead to snoring.

Sleep apnea

If your child carries excess pounds, they might develop obstructive sleep apnea. With this condition, tissues at the back of their throat collapse while they sleep, blocking their airways. The child partially wakes each time to clear the airways — this can happen dozens of times per night.

This sleep disorder can be serious and affects about 1% to 5% of kids.

The snoring that accompanies sleep apnea is unique in that it’s not a rhythmic sound but a choking or gurgling noise followed by clearing sounds.

Evaluating and treating your child’s snoring

For each of these potential causes of snoring in kids, there are effective treatment options that can help everyone in the household get better sleep.

First, we need to evaluate your child’s snoring, which we can do with a quick visit to our office.

To get started, please contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, to schedule an appointment.

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