Lack of sleep can lead to increased injuries among preschool children

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Lack of adequate sleep can lead to increased injuries among preschool children, new research shows.

This study published in Public Health Nursing shows that the average number of injuries during the preschool years is two times higher for children who don't get enough sleep each day as described by their mothers.

Each year approximately 20-25 percent of all children in the United States sustain injuries that require medical attention. Childhood injury is one of the 10 Leading Health Indicators being tracked over the next 10 years by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Christina Koulouglioti, Ph.D., R.N., and colleagues, Dr R.Cole & Dr H.Kitzman, of the University of Rochester School of Nursing collected data from nearly 300 mothers and their preschool children over the course of 2 ½ years. Mothers reported on their child's sleep, and data on injuries were collected through self-report and medical records. The study was funded by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The study found a direct negative relationship between children's sleep and injuries. Children who get an adequate amount of sleep sustain fewer injuries. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children three to six years of age get 11 hours or more of sleep a day.

The increased risk of injuries associated with inadequate sleep was significant even after taking into account factors including maternal age, education, and the child's temperament. The ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of participants shows the relevancy of this issue across different backgrounds.

“The results of our study have significant implications for the prevention of injuries,” Koulouglioti concludes. “The findings provide additional support for the essential role of poor sleep as a risk factor for injuries among preschool children.”

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