Most often, tracheomalacia is congenital. This means the child was born with the condition.
Other types can occur later when something presses on the tracheal cartilage. Such as a blood vessel that crosses too closely to the trachea putting pressure on the walls of the airway. Tracheomalacia can also develop after a child has been on a ventilator for quite a while. But, these two causes are much less common than the congenital type.
Babies born with tracheomalacia may have other congenital abnormalities such as heart defects, developmental delay, esophageal abnormalities or gastroesophageal reflux.