Sleepwalker, 8, falls from bedroom window

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 February, 2009, 12:00am

An eight-year-old boy was fighting for his life in hospital after apparently falling out of a window at his home while sleepwalking yesterday.

The boy, surnamed Hee, fell from his bedroom window at his family's second-floor flat at One Beacon Hill, in Beacon Hill Road, at about 4.30am while his parents and domestic helper were asleep.

A security guard at his post said he heard a loud bang, and when he went to look, found the boy lying unconscious on the ground. He called police, and the boy was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he was in a critical condition.

His parents did not know what had happened until officers arrived and told them, according to police.

Police believe the boy had been sleepwalking when he opened the window because he had a history of such behaviour. The window did not have a grille, a police source said.

Police were told the boy had sleepwalked before, when the family lived in Canada. He had once walked out of their home there while asleep.

Former Medical Association president Choi Kin said it was rare for people to fall from heights or harm themselves while sleepwalking.

'Sleepwalking usually happens during childhood between five and 15 years old, but the condition disappears in adulthood,' Dr Choi said.

Episodes of sleepwalking could last from a few minutes to half an hour, he said. Some people might wake up to find themselves sitting on their bed. Others might put on clothes, go to eat or walk out of their home. They then return to bed and sleep for the rest of the night. The next morning, they do not realise what has happened.

He advised families with members that sleepwalk to follow safety measures to prevent them from hurting themselves, such as locking windows and the front door, and removing potentially hazardous objects from their path.