Study Shows Connection Between Sleep And Childhood Injury

Does your child fall down frequently or have an unusual number of injuries? It may be that she or he is sleep-deprived.

An Italian study involving more than 300 children age 14 and under who went to the emergency room for treatment suggests that sleep and wakefulness duration are associated with the risk of injury in children. Researchers at the Children's Emergency Center of Udine, Italy, compared sleep patterns on the days the children were injured with the days they weren't. They interviewed the children or their parents for the project.

Among the findings of the study:

  • Sleeping less than 10 hours a day is associated with an 86% increase in injury risk.
  • Children between the ages of three and five who slept less than 10 hours a day there seemed to have a significant increase of risk of injury.
  • Within that group, boys in particular were at increased risk of injury.
  • Being awake for more than eight hours results in a fourfold increase of injury risk, but the risk increase seemed to be significant among males only.

"The finding that sleep and wakefulness duration are associated with the risk of injury in children suggests new opportunity for injury prevention in childhood," according to the authors of the study, which was published in the February 2, 2001 issue of Pediatrics.

However, they added, "It might be premature to quantify the exact duration of sleep required to minimize injury risk in childhood." Further research is desirable to confirm and strengthen our results.



National Sleep Foundation