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Does your child have obstructive sleep apnea?

  • Sleep disorders affect millions of American children
  • Problems at night can lead to several problems during the day
  • There are signs parents can watch for to find out if their child has an issue
Does your child have obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep disorders: Kids that go bump in the night

Sleep disorders: Kids that go bump in the night

Obstructive sleep apnea afflicts about 3-5% of children under 18 in the United States. That's more than 2 million children who temporarily stop breathing at night, leading to all sorts of problems. Is your child at risk for this condition, or already experiencing it and you haven't noticed? Take our quiz to find out!

Question 1
How old is your child?

a) 0-1
b) 2-7
c) 8-12
d) 13-18

Dr. Gary Montgomery, the medical director for the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sleep Center, says (b) 2-7 is the primary age range when children suffer from sleep apnea, because they get lots of colds at that age. Tonsils and adenoids swell to help the body fight the infections, and sometimes stay swollen, blocking the still-small airways.

Question 2
Is your child...

a) underweight
b) weight proportional
c) overweight

Montgomery says as children of all ages get (c) overweight or obese, they're more prone to obstructive sleep apnea from enlarged tongues and extra tissue, even if they have small tonsils or adenoids.

Question 3
What kinds of daytime problems can sleep deprivation brought on by apnea cause?

a) trouble problem solving
b) emotional control issues
c) listening skills
d) trouble learning
e) all of the above

Montgomery says the answer is all of the above -- even for children with mild sleep apnea.

Question 4
Does a snoring child definitely have sleep apnea?

a) Yes
b) No

Montgomery says (b) no. Many children who do not have sleep apnea snore, for a variety of other reasons.

Question 5
Is sleep apnea hereditary?
a) Yes
b) No

Montgomery says (b) no, but with 3-5% of U.S. children under 18 suffering from sleep apnea, it's not unheard of for more than one child in a family to have the condition.

For more conversations like this, watch Raising America every week day at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET on HLN. And be sure to tweet your thoughts to @KyraHLN with the #RaisingAmerica hashtag or join the conversation on


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