There is a small army of parents doing battle in the middle of the night. While most families are tucked snug in their beds, these parents are up comforting wailing babies or disoriented toddlers who are experiencing night terrors. Are you among them? Parents often feel helpless or are unaware that this is not just an ordinary nightmare. Such a problem can exacerbated by a lack of sleep during baby’s first years. Not to worry, Memphis Parent sat down with Kristy Traver, a nurse at LeBonheur and the mother of three, to get some practical advice on dealing with this common conc.Are night terrors the same thing as nightmares? No. Night terrors usually happen during the first few hours of sleep, and are characterized by intense fear, inconsolability, and disorientation. Parents may also find it difficult to wake their child. Or the child can appear awake but not be conscious. Usually, the child experiencing the night terror has little to no memory of the event once he wakes up. Most episodes last 1 to 2 minutes, though some can last up to 30 minutes.When do most children experience night terrors? Night terrors are most commonly seen in children ages 2 to 12, and peak around age 3.How should I respond when my child has night terrors? These events are usually more upsetting for you than for your child. The best advice I can give as a nurse (and parent) is to stay calm, stay with your child, and try to comfort him until it passes. Make sure he doesn’t harm himself. If the night terrors become difficult to manage, call your family doctor. If your child appears confused or exhibits any abnormal behavior during waking hours, or has fever and a stiff neck, seek immediate medical attention.Is there anything parents can do to prevent night terrors from occurring? Night terrors can be caused by stressful events in the child’s life, fever, sleep deprivation, or medications that affect the brain. To deal with fever, give Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Prevention should start by looking at what could be the cause of the night terror. If the child is over-tired, then he should nap during the day, or go to bed at an earlier time. If the child seems distressed, look at ways of decreasing stress in his life. Ask yourself, “Is my child having difficulty adjusting to a new routine, are things unstable at home, is he being picked on, has he experienced a traumatic event recently?” Then strive to resolve the problem.