39 answers

3 1/2 Year Old Difficulty Breathing While Sleeping

My 3 1/2 year old son has recently developed difficulty breathing while he sleeps. He will gasp for breath, stop breathing for a few seconds, snorts, snores very loudly. I am worried that this is disturbing his sleep. He has begun to wake up several times a night -- usually asks for a drink and then goes back to bed but in the morning he looks like he hasn't slept. He is beginning to develop dark circles under his eyes and I am just really worried about him. He doesn't have a stuffy nose or a cold and I have even caught him breathing really heavily through his mouth during the day, just looking at a book or playing a game. Does anyone have any advice or experienced this type of thing with their child? I plan to take him to the pediatrician if it doesn't change soon.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your responses. We went to the ENT today and they will be removing his tonsils and adenoids in a couple of weeks. I'm so thankful I took the advice of all the mom's who have been through similar situations -- the doctor thinks this will really help both his sleeping and his growth.

Featured Answers

You need to take him to doctor now. He could be having respiratory issues, or sleep apnea. My father has this and he now uses a machine at night to help him breath. He sleeps so much better with the machine. IF the doctor dismisses this please seek a second opinion.

2 moms found this helpful

S., it sounds like sleep apnea. You should take him to his ped and get a sleep study done as soon as possible. Believe it or not, this is common in small children.

1 mom found this helpful

Go ahead and take him to the Pediatrician. He could have enlarged adenoids or could be developing asthma. He could also be reacting allergically to something in his space. If it is already affecting his sleep and how he looks he should be seen now. This is definitely abnormal.
I am an RN who worked with Asthmatic children. He should be evaluated ASAP.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

You need to take him to doctor now. He could be having respiratory issues, or sleep apnea. My father has this and he now uses a machine at night to help him breath. He sleeps so much better with the machine. IF the doctor dismisses this please seek a second opinion.

2 moms found this helpful

This sounds like classic sleep apnea! Take him to the ENT (we go to Dr Glen Medders - ###-###-#### - and he is awesome!) My son had these same symptoms at 2 1/2 yrs and for months I worried and fretted about it! Finally, I realized (after MUCH research!) that it was sleep apnea and he has his tonsils and adenoids out just before he turned three and within a few weeks he was TOTALLY fine!! It truly changed our world! Don't wait- this is serious but can be fixed!! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My son had the same issues, with constant ear infections. He was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. His extra large tonsils and enormous adenoids were removed in the summer (and tubes placed in his ears again) and he has been like a new boy - no more snoring all DAY and night, no more mouth breathing, and he sleeps well now. He also hasn't been sick since. He also started wetting the bed around the same time this all came to a head, which unfortunately hasn't stopped. Better to resolve it sooner rather than later. I was really hesitant about doing the surgery, but decided to go for it and it has improved his quality of life dramatically. My little brother had the same issues, but no one ever suggested having those things done (except for the tubes - and he still had ear infections in his late teens).

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

I agree with Jancey that you need to get to the bottom of this now. You said he has most of his difficulty breathing while sleeping. Do you use Chlorine Bleach on his bedding? A lot of detergents have chlorine bleach as an ingredient and it is a known respiratory toxin as well as a neurological one. It has also been linked to SIDS.

No matter what you find out from the doctor, you need to detox your house and your son's little body. Other things besides chlorine bleach can cause these type problems as well and can simply be removed to improve his health. Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo has Quaternium-15 in it that releases formaldehyde and can cause breathing problems, neurological issues and even cause cancer. If baby shampoo has something in it this dangerous, think of all the other things in your home that can hurt him.

My website www.go2harmony.healthyhometour.com can give you some guidance as to how much you have in your house that could be affecting him. You can also find out who I am and why I do what I do from my squidoo site below. Environmental toxins are slowly poisoning us all. Our children are sooo much more susceptible because of their small size. If you'd like more information let me know. I'd love to help.



1 mom found this helpful

Agree you need to have him looked at, our son had apnea due to enlarged tonsils/adenoids. He had them removed around the age of 5 and it improved his sleeping dramatically. It could be other things as well- allergies, asthma, narrow nasal passages etc...I would also add if you do not get an adequate response on the first trip to the doctor you should always request a second opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

Those are the classic symptoms of sleep apnea. My dad has it and I've heard kids can get it too. It would be good to get him treated for it as it will affect his health as he grows older -- if that's what he has. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the others. Take him in today for a sleep APNEA check. The doctor should refer you to a sleep clinic where they do a sleep study. My daughter was a premmie and had sleep APNEA and my father and I both have had sleep APNEA machines. I was able to get off of mine after I had my tonsils removed.

If your not sure what sleep APNEA is I recommend going to WebMD and looking it up. It is serious and needs attention ASAP.

1 mom found this helpful

I would get this checked out immediately. It sounds as if he might a form of sleep apnea, which can be dangerous. Good luck and I hope you get everything worked out.

1 mom found this helpful

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