Early Sunday morning, a 12-year-old Vernal girl fell from a motel window while sleepwalking. The girl was staying in a third floor room with her family at a Hampton Inn in Orem, when she fell about 16 feet from a third floor window onto a second floor landing. She was hospitalized, but her mother has reported that she will be ok.
Sleepwalking can be dangerous for people of any age, but it can be particularly dangerous for children. The Center for Effective Parenting offers some excellent information for parents of children who sleep walk.
The main concern for parents with sleep-walking children should be safety. Sleep walkers do not have the judgment that people who are awake have, and they run the risk of getting hurt. It may be difficult for parents to protect their sleep-walking children. Often, sleep walkers don’t make much noise, so it’s difficult for parents to tell when their children are sleep walking. However, sleep walkers are in danger of getting seriously hurt. They may stumble or fall over something, which could result in a serious injury.
Though it can be difficult, there are ways for parents to protect their sleep-walking children. First of all, they should prepare for the episodes. Before going to sleep at night, parents should check their children’s room for hazards. It’s not a good idea for sleep-walking children to sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed or in a bed that’s high off the ground. It is a good idea to put away anything that sleep-walking children might trip over should they get up and walk around. Another idea is to close the bedroom door, and to lock all windows. This will help ensure that children stay in their rooms instead of wandering around the house. Another alternative is to install an alarm system on sleep walkers’ beds or bedroom doors.
The only danger with sleep walking is the physical danger children are in while roaming around the house at night. Otherwise, sleep walking should not be a cause for concern. It is not linked with any physical or psychological problem. It usually stops by the time children reach adolescence. In the meantime, all that can be done is to take safety precautions to make sure that sleep walkers do not hurt themselves.
So if you suspect or know that your child is a sleepwalker, take steps to protect them. And if you need additional information on sleepwalking or other sleep related issues that can plague us all, the National Sleep Foundation is an excellent resource.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.