Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - September 2014

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28 Hudson Valley Parent ■ September 2014 By THERESA NARVESEN I nconsolable screaming. Uncon- trollable thrashing. Open yet unseeing eyes. These are all symptoms of night terrors. This dramatic form of sleep dis- ruption can occur in children at any point between 3 and 12 years of age and peaks around 4 years old. But how do parents know when their child is really suffering from a night terror and not just a bad dream? How do we know what to do when they occur? Barbara Quintana of Fishkill was extremely concerned when her son, Monty, started having screaming fi ts after she put him to sleep. The epi- sodes started when he was 9 months old. "The night terrors were so bad that when I put him to bed at night, I would literally be praying that he would not have one," she recalls. Quintana took her son to see Dr. Christian Heitenen at TLC Pediat- rics in Poughkeepsie. After a series of questions, Heitenen confi rmed that it was indeed night terrors and gave her some helpful tips to get her through each episode. "The most important thing is not to try to cuddle them or get them out of it when it's going on," she says. "It just makes it worse!" Quintana and her mother would watch helplessly as Monty screamed and threw himself around. They made sure not to interfere or turn on the lights. After anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, the night terrors would stop. Monty, who is now 5, outgrew the night terrors by the time he turned 2. Symptoms of night terrors According to Kerrin Edmonds, a certifi ed child sleep consultant and founder of the baby and child sleep consulting practice, Meet You In Dreamland, night terrors can be pretty severe. "A true night terror is quite violent in nature and usually in- volves the child leaping from their bed, with agitated sleep walking or Terrors in the night! Just a bad dream? Or something worse? "Knowing the triggers can help you prepare for your child's next episode." — Kerrin Edmonds, certi ed sleep consultant

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