When you watch most babies sleep, they look like little angels. But the sound of a toddler snoring can be less than angelic.
Heidi and Ruben Illescas' days are busy keeping up with their three active young children. And their nights are spent trying to sleep over the sound of their three-year-old twins snoring.
"My son has plenty of energy," said Heidi Illescas. "And it does make me think that his snoring could be impacting his behavior."
"Habitual snoring, loud snoring particularly if the child is a mouth breather if they are sweating at night," noted Dr. Judith Owens. "Those would be all symptoms parents should note."
Dr. Judith Owens is head of the Children's National Medical Center Sleep Clinic. New studies in the Journal of Pediatrics reveal snoring in infants and loud persistent snoring among toddlers could signal serious underlying health problems like hyper activity and attention deficit disorders and pediatric sleep apnea.
"When she was sleeping she wasn't as restful as she could be and she was snoring," said Tiffany Tyler of her daughter Trinity.
Right now Trinity Tyler is a bright, energetic, second grader. But two years ago her mother and Trinity's teachers noticed some problems.
"She was falling asleep in school and she had to have a nap all the time," said Tyler.
Trinity underwent a sleep assessment test at Georgetown University Hospital and was diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Sleep Specialist Dr. Cesar Santos says many parents dismiss the earliest symptom of potentially serious health problems - snoring.
"We can fix the sleep problem and potentially you could solve the daytime behavior," said Santos.
Doctors say nearly ten-percent of all toddlers snore. But it is the loud persistent snoring that is of most concern. In many cases, removing the tonsils and adenoids can correct the problem. But parents have to be alert and talk to their pediatricians.