People commonly associate night terrors with adults, but up to six percent of children experience night terrors. Children can start to experience night terrors as young as a year old and have them through adolescence. If your child is suffering from night terrors, here is what you need to know. 

What Are Night Terrors?

Night terrors, or sleep terrors, are occurrences of fear, screaming, and flailing during sleep. Some children even experience sleepwalking while having a night terror. For some children, the experience only lasts a few seconds, while others could have them for a few minutes. Children usually outgrow the episodes and do not require treatment. However, you should talk to your child's pediatric if the sleep terrors are causing your child to have problems sleeping. 

What Complications Can Occur?

Depending on the severity and frequency of the night terrors, your child's sleeping patterns can be disturbed. As a result, he or she could suffer from excessive sleepiness throughout the day. The lack of sleep could lead to your child being unable to concentrate, which can impact his or her schoolwork. 

Night terrors also can cause embarrassment for some children. In some cases, a child can suffer injury while flailing or sleepwalking during a night terror episode. If your child has progressed to this point or is having trouble sleeping, treatment is needed. 

What Are the Treatment Options?

The treatment that your child's pediatrician recommends depends on what the source of the night terrors are. If the pediatrician believes that your child's terrors are the result of stress, he or she might recommend that your child see a therapist to help learn coping skills for dealing with stress. 

If the terrors are the result of an underlying condition, such as sleep apnea, the doctor will focus on treating that condition. In the case of sleep apnea, the use of a CPAP machine or other oral breathing device during sleep might be necessary and you'll need to talk to a pediatric dentist office like Southridge Pediatric Dentistry.

What Can You Do?

At home, you can focus on making your child's bedroom safer. For instance, if your child is sleepwalking during an episode, you can install a door alarm on his or her door so that you are alerted when the door is opened. You also need to ensure that there are no objects that your child can trip on or run into while flailing or sleepwalking. 

At some point, your child should outgrow the night terrors. If not, work with your pediatrician to determine why the episodes have continued and how to treat them.