Sleepwalking and children
Is sleepwalking normal for children?
Sleepwalking is a disturbance in which someone gets up out of bed and walks without being aware of the event. It is most often triggered by poor sleep habits.
Sleepwalking is a disorder that occurs when people walk or do other activity while they are still asleep.
In children, sleepwalking starts between ages 6 and 12. It occurs more often in boys than girls. Children outgrow sleepwalking in most cases.
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.
Owens J. Sleep medicine. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 17.
Sleepwalking - illustration
Sleepwalking is not uncommon in children and is often triggered by a disruption in the child's regular sleep pattern or by a fever. It is usually harmless and is outgrown by early adolescence.
Review Date: 2/5/2015
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.