Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome increases pedestrian injury risk in children

J Pediatr. 2015 Jan;166(1):109-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.09.032. Epub 2014 Oct 25.


Objectives: To evaluate pedestrian behavior, including reaction time, impulsivity, risk-taking, attention, and decision-making, in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) compared with healthy controls.

Study design: Using a case control design, 8- to 16-year-olds (n = 60) with newly diagnosed and untreated OSAS engaged in a virtual reality pedestrian environment. Sixty-one healthy children matched using a yoke-control procedure by age, race, sex, and household income served as controls.

Results: Children with OSAS were riskier pedestrians than healthy children of the same age, race, and sex. Children with OSAS waited less time to cross (P < .01). The groups did not differ in looking at oncoming traffic or taking longer to decide to cross.

Conclusions: Results suggest OSAS may have significant consequences on children's daytime functioning in a critical domain of personal safety, pedestrian skills. Children with OSAS appeared to have greater impulsivity when crossing streets. Results highlight the need for heightened awareness of the consequences of untreated sleep disorders and identify a possible target for pediatric injury prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reaction Time
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Walking