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Night Terrors


A night terror is when your child suddenly wakes up in fear out of a deep sleep. Your child does not remember the terror the next day. Night terrors (also called sleep terrors) are not the same as nightmares. Most children outgrow night terrors as they get older.


Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Help your child manage his fears:

Talk to your child about his fears and help him find ways to deal with stress.

Help your child get enough sleep:

Put him to bed earlier than usual if you feel he is not getting enough sleep.

Manage night terrors:

  • Stay calm: Do not panic while your child is having a night terror. Do not wake him during a night terror. He will fall back to sleep on his own.
  • Make his bedroom safe: Do not place things that may break, such as toys, a lamp, or a mirror, near your child. He could get hurt by these things if he gets out of bed or kicks or thrashes about in his bed.
  • Keep your child safe: Lock your windows and doors in case your child sleepwalks during night terrors. You could also hang a bell on your child's door to warn you that he is out of his bed.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's night terrors prevent him from doing his daily activities.
  • Your child's night terrors are getting worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • Your child has hurt himself or someone else.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.