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  • Sleepwalking

    I took my son to Cub resident camp last weekend. First we had a great time and a lot of fun. My son is 9 y.o. quickly approaching 10. There was an incident at camp that scared me quite a bit, and do not know how to handle since he will be going into Boy Scouts next year and most likely will be camping without me. I am not a unit leader but work with Scouting on the district level. I probably could sneak my way into going to camp with my son's troop next year, but prefer that he learn some independence.

    Now the incident, he was sleeping in a tent with the other Webelos Scouts (about 5 in one tent). I know that is overcrowded, but the Webelos Scouts wanted to sleep together so the leaders let them, and I tend to let them make those decisions even for my son. They are in charge, and if it is not a YP violation or a safety issue, I yield to them.

    In any case, on Saturday night one of the leaders was heading back from the latrine when he saw my son wandering around apparently leaving camp. He was in his underwear. When the leader asked him what he was doing he started shouting Mom!, Mom!, Mom!. The leader immediately called for me. I heard this, and immediately left my tent, and went outside. When I got to my son, I directed him back to the tent and told him to go to bed. He said something about jumping in the pool, but eventually went to his cot. I do not think he woke up during this entire incident, and of course I did not go back to sleep for a couple of hours because the incident really shook me up.

    I cannot imagine what would have happened if the leader did not happen to be returning from the latrine. We could have woken up the next day, and my son would have been missing from his tent, and possibly wandering around the woods lost in his underwear or worse. Have any of you ever tackled a sleep walking issue while at camp, and how did you handle it?
    (This message has been edited by johnponz)

  • #2
    My son has done this. Usually if someone tells him to :go back to bed" he will shamble off and do so. We have:

    (1) Make sure he is not near the entrance of a tent. If he steps over somebody he will wake them up. He needs a buddy to go with him.
    (2) Make sure his tent is not perched on the edge of a bluff or other dangerous spot.
    (3) I have bedded down outside his tent entrance if I was really worried.

    Now he is 13 he has mostly out grown it.

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    • #3
      If this is a one time occurance, that is all it might be. You have this year to watch him before he goes to BS, but then for a while the advice Turtle recomends is pretty good.

      My son did sleep walking only once when he was probably about 10.. He was at home, went from his upstairs bedroom, downstairs, opened the door outside.. And walked over to our neighbors house.. Luckily they were out in the garage and saw him wandering around. Never happened again..

      I think I too once sleepwalked when I was young, the dream was vivid, I remember how hard it was to get to the side door of the house, I remember working hard to open the door, then something on the other side, bursted through throwing me back.. I really don't know what happen that night, but when I woke up the side door that I know was locked when I went to bed was standing wide open..

      Some people are prone to sleepwalking alot.. Others have a once in a lifetime occurance.

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      • #4
        Interesting...and scary. Does he do this at home? I would consult my pediatrician. I was going to suggest tethering his ankle to the cot frame...but that might be a safety hazard...

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        • #5
          Thanks for the advice so far. He has done this a few other times. Just a few weeks ago my wife and I woke up to find him on the couch in the living room with all his blankets with him.

          Tampa Turtle, he actually was in the back of the tent and managed to walk over the other Webelos Scouts without waking them up. I agree with your points 2 and 3. We did talk about this with our pediatrician who said that there was not much that could medically be done. He is on the autistic spectrum, but on the very functional side. His actual diagnosis is PDDNOS (pervasive developmental order not otherwise specified). The doctor said that these episodes are more common with people on the spectrum. It is true that he will probably outgrow this.

          He usually does this when he misses sleep or is overly tired so we have to encourage him to go to bed on time. This is very hard at camp because he is so excited to be there. The night before this happened the Cubs were up very late playing cards and generally talking. The next day the program at camp was packed so this is probably what caused the incident. I hate to limit his social interactions because he enjoys them so much, and really needs to develop these skills, and Scouts is a very safe place to do this.

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          • #6
            My son has done it on a backpacking trip, walked over to where the Scoutmaster was sleeping under a tarp, hunched down and stared at him for a long, long time with dead eyes. Freaked him out a little.

            Seems like it is more of a problem on the first night than the second. Maybe because it he was more tired on Saturday night?

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            • #7
              >


              Heh, heh! Maybe this is why sheath knives are discouraged in Scouting...


              Interesting discussion.

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              • #8
                Just experienced this a few weeks back when a scout, after finishing OA Ordeal and just staying the night for morning ride, walked across the area near my cot, then sat down on a log. It unnerved me because he pretty much did not respond, other than saying yes when I asked him if he was okay. I was just preparing to change some clothes before getting in my bag, and I was under the stars with a cot. It was like he was simply sitting there staring at me. He finally got up and went back to his bag and went to sleep; the others in the area were all under the stars too. Next morning he had no memory of it. His mom says she has never seen him do it either. But, he had had a very long day and previous night; so that seems related.

                I had just laid back on my cot and sort of watched him until he went back to his bag. Then finished getting ready for the sack.

                Years ago had a scout actually get up inside a bag and sort of hop around in his sleep. I was ready to stop him, as he was headed in the direction of a drop off into the creek; but he laid back down and went back to sleep. Again, he did not remember; but his mom said he had been doing it off and on for a number of years. This was the first time he had slept outside a tent, so that may have had something to do with it.

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                • #9
                  Awwwe. You guys got off easy.

                  I had one scout wake up screaming at top of lungs in the middle of the night. I shot out of bed and out of the tent to get a glimpse of him heading off through the woods at about 100 mph. Here's the mystery. I was tore to shreds trying to keep up with him, hitting every tree in the woods at least once. I finally caught up to him and he calmed down and we walked back to camp and he didn't say a word. I figured it would be better to talk in the morning when things looked better in the light of day.

                  The next morning he didn't remember any of it, and didn't have a scratch on him.

                  Me, on the other hand,...

                  Stosh

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                  • #10
                    We had a sleepwalking scout for a few years. They would put bells on his tent zipper and on his ankle so if he got up someone would hear him. cause he did it over the course of years and the whole troop had a plan for what to do when they heard the bells. His tent mate was usually a light sleeper who would hear the bells and take care of it by encouraging him to lay back down and he'd go right back to sleep. they'd always set up camp so his tent was furthest away from an hazards (roads, drop offs, rivers) just to make it a little easier to head him off before something happened.

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                    • #11
                      I was told at a camp that a boy had sleepwalked right over to a gully and over the edge. I think it was 60 feet. Not a scratch on him and woke him up as well. The camp then put up a railing and does not have any tent sites near there. I shared this with a fellow dad and he laughed and said that his son sleepwalks as well. Gotta love that o-well attitude! I do like the bells idea and a plan in advance though.

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                      • #12
                        as someone with night terrors working with doctors to find correct medication and find things to help lesson them has helped. if I slept walked - I'd work on learning what could wake me and use it outside of tent to wake me (bells, rocks at tent door to step on, or the like) I just do a lot of tossing and turning and saying "no" don't scream thankfully, but my tentmates know and know how to wake me up by calling me a particular name.

                        so keep eye on 'em find out what triggered it, if it's a one time thing or continues. if continues try things that would wake 'em and consult a doctor.

                        night terrors and sleep walking are somewhat similar and sometimes are just a phase some go through. other people it's a constant part of their life.

                        somethings that really make mine worse - being very tired (so I will take a nap if needed to help), being too hot (so I pack a battery fan and my tentmate has gotten use to keeping it cooler and will use her sleeping bag almost all weather and extra blankets in the winter), being touched (so we keep plenty of space between us)

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                        • #13
                          Oh we get screamers all the time.

                          Yes my son was tarp camping on the edge of 1n 80 foot bluff when it was pitch black. I guess I should have planned better.

                          No sleep-runners, thank goodness.

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