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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
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More COVID-19 Updates

Should I Be Worried About My Child's Nightmares?

Should I Be Worried About My Child's Nightmares?

My daughter has nightmares that sometimes wake her up. Should I be worried?
- Emelia

Nightmares are pretty common in childhood, especially in kids younger than 10. Aside from making for a restless night's sleep for everyone involved, the occasional nightmare is generally not a cause for concern.

There's no proven way to prevent the occasional nightmare, but you might try having your daughter avoid scary books, movies, and video games before sleep. Having a happy, peaceful bedtime routine also can help. Using a nightlight, sleeping with the bedroom door open, and having a security item (like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal) can help kids feel safer. Some kids even like to keep a flashlight next to their bed.

Recurring nightmares may signal fear or anxiety worth exploring through discussions with your child or with the help of your doctor or a behavioral health professional. If you're concerned about the nightmares, your child has them often, or she seems afraid during the day, talk to her doctor.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013