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Door alarms for sleepwalkers


Squawky Acres
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DD9 was sleepwalking last night and almost escaped from her hotel room.  I woke up at midnight to hear a horrible racket coming from their room (we kept the adjoining doors partially open) -- like someone was trying to break down the door.  When I investigated, I found DD violently shaking the door, which she had unlocked and opened completely, except for that folding slide lock thing on top which she apparently couldn't figure out in her sleep.  I can't imagine what she intended to do, or what might have happened to her -- wandering the hallways in her pajamas, or even leaving the building?

 

She has had other sleepwalking incidents, but usually just walks around the house, or comes to our room to mumble something incomprehensible.  She has never tried to do anything dangerous before.    She sleeps with her sister in a ground-floor room that is actually very far from where the rest of us sleep upstairs (it is a master suite addition).  We thought it was best for her to have a ground floor room to avoid the danger of falling down stairs, but now I feel very unsafe with her so far away.  There is an exterior door in her room, which opens out onto a deck, with stairs to the back yard and pond.  I don't want to put locks on her doors because of the danger of being trapped in case of fire.  I  read the other sleepwalking thread (link below), and am on Amazon now shopping for door alarms, but am afraid that I might not hear them all the way at the other end of the house.  Is there anything like a door alarm with a speaker you can put someplace else, like in our room?  Is this something we should discuss with her doctor, or is there anything else we can do?

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/585576-dangerous-sleepwalking/?hl=%2Bsleepwalking&do=findComment&comment=6804898

Edited by Squawky Acres
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Go for the 120db alarms. They are quite loud but likely won't wake her* up. They will wake others nearby. Also set up a baby monitor so that you will hear the alarm through the monitor too.

 

 

 

* My experience was that the sleepwalker was very difficult to wake even when the alarm blared above their head, but I could hear it without a problem. The alarm was on a downstairs bedroom door. Our bedroom is upstairs. The baby monitor really helps though if you want there to be no doubt about hearing it.

Edited by jewellsmommy
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Go for the 120db alarms. They are quite loud but likely won't wake her up. They will wake others nearby. Also set up a baby monitor so that you will hear the alarm through the monitor too.

 

Thanks -- so door alarm + baby monitor?  I was hoping someone might make an alarm with a remote bell that I could put in our room.  I am just having trouble finding that or figuring out the appropriate search terms.

 

DH did suggest just setting up the baby monitor, but I am afraid that little, normal noises will be waking us up all night, and a sleep-deprived grumpy Mommy is also a safety hazard.

Edited by Squawky Acres
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Thanks -- so door alarm + baby monitor?  I was hoping someone might make an alarm with a remote bell that I could put in our room.  I am just having trouble finding that or figuring out the appropriate search terms.

 

 

More advanced systems do, but we found the cheaper and easier way around is to use the basic alarms from hardware stores and add the baby monitor for peace of mind. You can also mount them on baby gates for places that you want a door to be able to freely open without alarm, like if a child needs to use the bathroom, etc. Depending on your set-up, keep that in mind too.

 

 

 

eta: I would not rely on just a baby monitor. You definitely want door alarms.

Edited by jewellsmommy
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A door alarm on each of her two doors should work -- one door opens to the porch and outside, and one opens to the back mudroom.  There is a bathroom in her room, so she really does not need to be using either of her doors once she has been put to bed.

 

But for the exterior door, do I put the door alarm on the interior, and wouldn't she be able to just de-activate it?  Or maybe that is too difficult to do whilst sleeping?

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Probably in the days before door alarms existed, my childhood friend would sleepwalk. (Her mother did frequently too.)

 

In their house, the doors to outside had lots of locks, misc. assortments of key, chain, & turn-deadbolt locks. At night, the dad would lock some on each door & leave others open. It varied by night. The hope was that as the sleepwalker was unlocking some locks, she would also be locking others. Hopefully the delay/frustration/noise of working with the locks would give the dad time to hear her/wake up & stop either one of them before they made it outside. Prior to this set-up, the mom had been found sleepwalking a block away down the street (& they lived across from a lake).

 

Not the safest set-up fire-wise, but it seemed to work for the situation/time.

 

Sorry you are dealing with this. I don't really know much about sleepwalking other than seeing it happen often w/ my friend. (I spent the night at her house a lot when I was a kid. She wasn't allowed to stay at my house because we had stairs & her parents were afraid of her falling down the stairs while sleepwalking.)

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I used to sleepwalk ( in my early 20s)

 

I did exit my apartment once.

 

I then got a device that is a long metal pole with something that jams under the doorknob. Easy to remove ( when not sleepwalking)

 

Oooh, so those long metal pole things can go on the inside of a door, and are only difficult to remove when sleepwalking?  I thought they went on the outside, and was worried about fires.

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I'd recommend the loud door alarms and baby monitor, too.  That's what we used for our 17 year old.  (He has outgrown it now, but stairs did not deter him, nor did he ever fall down them.  DH did, when he was leaving for PT at 5am and DS was asleep at the top of the stairs in the dark.)

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A door alarm on each of her two doors should work -- one door opens to the porch and outside, and one opens to the back mudroom.  There is a bathroom in her room, so she really does not need to be using either of her doors once she has been put to bed.

 

But for the exterior door, do I put the door alarm on the interior, and wouldn't she be able to just de-activate it?  Or maybe that is too difficult to do whilst sleeping?

 

 

You can buy the type that require a 4 number sequence to arm and disarm them. This is what we used. Plus, we put them a little higher than our eye level.

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I too have a sleepwalker that had opened the door in a hotel room and started walking down the hall.  He's also opened the front door of house and walked out.  The simplest thing we found was to install a simple hook and eye bolt high up on the door.  The type that you have to slide a little metal piece over before lifting the hook (sorry I'm not describing it well).  It's tricky even for adults and there's no way my son could open it. 

 

We have found the sleepwalking to be much less frequent as he has gotten older and going to bed with an empty bladder seems to help a great deal in his case.

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Consider "toddler proof" doorknob covers. They make it difficult to open doors and may buy you an extra minute or two at night. I think a sleepwalker would have trouble handling them. I'd also consider extra locks to outside doors. I know you mentioned you don't want that but something physical, even at kid level for emergencies, can impede for a minute or two. Like a slide chain.

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Is it possible to put her in an upstairs bedroom and put a baby gate at the stairs at night?  Truthfully, I wouldn't want to be that far away from a child who did strange things in the middle of the night -- and I would put her as far away from exterior exits as possible.

 

My sister was/is? a sleepwalker.   :grouphug:

 

 

ETA:  There are some really good ideas on this thread.

Edited by Junie
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