What should I do if my child sleepwalks?

  • Preventing injury is the most important thing you can do. Keep dangerous objects out of your child's reach. Close and lock windows and doors. Latches or bolts on outer doors may need to be installed beyond your child's reach. Heavy drapes may help as a deterrent to accessing a window. If necessary, have your child sleep on the ground floor of your home so he or she doesn't fall down stairs. Remove sharp and breakable objects from around your child's bed. Eliminate clutter from floors. Install safety gates outside your child's room and at the top of stairs. Don't let your child sleep in a bunk bed.
  • Keep car keys out of reach. Do not forget gun safety. Turn down the set-point on your water heater to prevent scalds
  • If you find your child sleepwalking, gently guide him or her back to bed. Do not awaken him or her. You may not even be able to. Attempting to do so can cause your child more aggravation. Instead, just steer your child back to bed while offering calm, reassuring statements, such as "you are safe, you are in your own bed."

Do I need to be concerned if my child sleepwalks?

No. Most children who sleepwalk do not have emotional or psychological problems. Most children grow out of sleepwalking by the time they are teenagers.

When should a call to the doctor about sleepwalking be considered?

Consider calling your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • The episodes are frequent, severe or potentially injurious.
  • The sleepwalker gets repeatedly injured during events.
  • The sleepwalker leaves the house.
  • Events last beyond the teenage years.
  • Events result in daytime sleepiness.
  • Stress, anxiety, or other psychological factors appear to contribute to sleep disturbances.
  • You suspect a seizure disorder or suspect interrupted sleep from sleep apnea or limb movement disorder of sleep. These may need an EEG or a sleep study to investigate.

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