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Sleepwalking and children

Question:

Is sleepwalking normal for children?

Answer:

Sleepwalking is a disturbance in which someone gets up out of bed and walks without being aware of the event. It is usually triggered by poor sleep habits.

In children, sleepwalking starts between ages 6 and 12. It occurs more often in boys than girls. Children usually outgrow sleepwalking.

If you can, gently steer someone who is sleepwalking safely back to bed. Try to make the home safer by adding gates to stairways and other safety measures to prevent injury.

Trying to stick to a bedtime routine may help reduce the problem.

References

Owens J. Sleep Medicine. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB,Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbookof Pediatrics.19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 17.

Update Date: 2/21/2013

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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