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Sleep labs welcome parents when kids test for sleep apnea

A parent is generally required to stay with

A parent is generally required to stay with a child under 18 being tested for sleep apnea. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Q. When adults are being tested for sleep apnea, they stay overnight at a sleep lab to be studied. But what about when parents suspect a child may have sleep apnea? Does he or she have to stay overnight alone?

A. Generally when a child up to age 18 is being tested for sleep apnea, a parent is required to stay the night in the same room as well, say Dr. Kristen Kelly-Pieper, director of the pediatric sleep program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park and Dr. Dmitriy Vaysman, director of pediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

“The way we do it at Good Samaritan is each room is like a hotel room. There is a bed for a child and a bed for a parent,” Vaysman says. The Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Good Samaritan is separate from the area for adults, he says. “I can’t tell you about every place, but that’s the way we do it.”

At Cohen, adults being tested and children being tested for sleep apnea are in the same location but in separate sections, Kelly-Pieper says. “The parent always stays with the child,” she says. “We try to make it as comfortable as possible. The child wears their regular pajamas.”

Parents are encouraged to bring the child’s special blanket, pillow or stuffed animal from home. Arrival time is usually about 8 p.m., which can be later than the child’s normal bedtime, which can help the child fall asleep more easily, she says.

The child is hooked up to monitors on the body, but there’s nothing invasive or painful about the process. It can, however, take about 45 minutes to hook up the child, she says.

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