What are the symptoms of OSA in children?

On this page read about the different night-time and day-time symptoms of OSA in children.

Symptoms of OSA can happen in the night or day. They may get worse when your child has a cold or chest infection. A child with OSA might have some or all of the symptoms we list below. If you think your child might have OSA, take them to see the doctor.

Night-time OSA symptoms

Common symptoms

  • Snoring (but this is also common without OSA)
  • Pauses in breathing which might be followed by a gasp or snort

Other possible symptoms of OSA

  • Gasps, snorts and choking sounds
  • Being restless or waking up suddenly from sleep
  • Laboured (difficult) breathing
  • Sleeping with their head bent backwards
  • Bedwetting (also common without OSA)
  • Sweating
  • Breathing through the mouth

Daytime OSA symptoms

  • Tiredness and sleepiness
  • Being irritable and prone to tears and tantrums (but this is also common in younger children without OSA)
  • Hyperactivity, which may alternate with sleepiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor or decreased performance at school
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Speech that sounds nasal
  • Having a headache early in the morning

Some children with OSA are overweight, while others may struggle to put on weight or grow as much as expected for their age group.

Use our OSA symptom form to keep a record of your child’s symptoms.

Next: How is OSA diagnosed in children?

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