Sleep Apnea in a 2 Year Old

Updated on May 27, 2012
L.H. asks from Annapolis, MD
8 answers

My two year old is amazingly healthy but she snores like a sailor. I took her to the same ENT that put in my older daughter's ear tubes and she has been diagnosed with sleep apnea. I figured that was the case and thought the adenoids would have to come out. I was not expecting the surgery to be anything other than minor but because of her age she has to undergo a sleep test. She already has one risk factor (younger than three) and if the sleep test shows that she has severe apnea she will have two risk factors. Even without the test the ENT doc has said that she needs to have her tonsills out as well as her adenoids and it has to take place in a university where they have a pediatric ICU. Any advice from moms that have walked this road is appreciated. How best to get through a sleep test with a two year old?

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answers from Charlotte on

My child didn't have sleep apnea, but had his tonsils removed, his adenoids reduced, and tubes put in his ears at the same time. I don't know if this is the same, but his tonsils were huge and I was so glad for them to be removed.

Ask for "giggle juice" (versaid) to be administered first so that she gets loopy and won't be scared. Ask the surgeon not to put the IV in her arm until she is asleep. (Perhaps the anesthesiologist will use gas.) IV's hurt and there is no good reason why she has to have it while she is awake, and you should stand your ground if the anesthesiologist tries to push you because of his or her convenience. (You can tell that happened to me.)

It doesn't bother me one bit or surprise me that they are doing this at a university hospital where they have a ped ICU. They are set up for children there. You don't really want to have the surgery where they are only set up for adults, right? The point is, they are making sure they can handle any surprises. Sleep apnea, if indeed she has it, is a serious thing and is hard on the heart. That's probably why they are being so careful. Just ask the doctor if you aren't sure about why they want a ped ICU at the ready.

I have read from other moms on here whose kids snored like freight trains, that once their tonsils were gone, their snoring ceased. I hope the same for your DD!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Because they are wanting to do the sleep test, I suggest that they don't know for sure it's sleep apnea or what type it is.

Here is a web site that is thorough in explaining sleep apnea.

I know of several babies who snore. As stated in this article It's likely to be enlarged tonsils/adenoids which is one form of sleep apnea. I'd ask the doctor more questions so that you will better understand what is going on.

I was screened for sleep apnea and received directions for taking the test. My clinics description said that parent can stay with child and either sleep or not. BTW I didn't have to take the test.

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answers from Miami on

Hi L.,
We went through the same thing. Where I am living abroad -- in a Western country with some of the best doctors. Our doctor said we did not need the sleep test. he said if you hear him breath all the time -- awake and asleep -- that is enough of a test. Yes, he is old school. but he established the best children's hospital where we live. so i trust him 100%

we got the tonsils out at 3 years old. I am sorry we did not do it earlier. his speech and sleep improved tremendously, not to mention his health. He also had a huge growth spurt children grow during sleep.

lastly, the surgery went much easier than i thought.

best of luck.
write me directly if you want more insights.




answers from Provo on

I'm glad you asked this question. Both of my boys (8 & 6) are having tonsilectomies this week and I'm a little nervous. My oldest did a sleep test, which I attended with him. They let us bring our own DVD. We also brought snacks and books. I had to read to my son until after 10pm to get him to fall asleep though. I hope the staff at your sleep center is as wonderful as ours were. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I'm surprised that if they know your daughter has apnea they would make you endure a sleep test. My son snored like the dickens at age 3 and the ENT did an Xray that showed how big his adenoids were. He agreed to have them taken out without any additional tests. I wish he had agreed to take the tonsils out too, because he still snores and has speech issues. I have never heard of putting her in an ICU for a tonsilectomy. Overnight observation yes, ICU is a big question as to why. I would get a second opinion.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, L.:

Ask your Doc to recommend someone for a second opinion.

Good luck.



answers from New York on

All children should have surgery even if minor in a center that had a
pediatric ICU. I am sure this doc mentioned it just to "cover his a---." That
is the world we live in and besides, would you want him having any surgery
at a hospital that did not deal with children. As far as the sleep study goes,
you will be able to stay with him. Bring toys, snacks, etc. My son had his
T and A at 2 1/2 years old and did fine. Kids are pretty incredible. They do
much better than adults. Good luck. She will be so much better off.


answers from Norfolk on

Our son's tonsils were huge (not infected) and had become an obstruction which kept him from sleeping well and swallowing was very difficult.
We had his tonsils and adenoids out soon as he turned 4 and I wished we'd done it sooner.
He could breathe, eat, drink, swallow and sleep so much more easily.

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