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What is known on the subject?Paediatric sleep problems are clinical conditions that often coexist with other mental health problems and meet criteria that warrant the implementation of screening procedures, including high prevalence, and significant clinical impact.Researchers have designed the BEARS, a user-friendly paediatric sleep screening tool that seems to increase the amount of sleep information recorded, as well as the likelihood of identifying sleep problems during routine health encounters. Nonetheless, there are no studies using the BEARS in Spanish-speaking samples.What this paper adds to existing knowledge?Using a sample of children with mental health problems, this study provides support for the use of the Spanish version of the BEARS to identify the most common sleep problems seen in paediatric populations.What are the implications for practice?Considering how frequent sleep problems are, it is especially important for health professionals working with children in general, and with children with mental health problems in particular, to be aware of and be encouraged to use simple brief screening tools for paediatric sleep problems.Research studies describe a high prevalence of sleep problems in children with mental health problems, up to 50%, and its role as a risk factor in the development of psychopathology. These often go unnoticed and are not evaluated in the clinical field. Our objective was to assess the concurrent validity of the BEARS, a brief paediatric sleep screening instrument, using the Children Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) as the comparison instrument.In this cross-sectional descriptive study, the BEARS was applied by a registered nurse to a sample of parents of children aged 2–16 years (n = 60, 71.7% male) who attended a mental healthcare facility (located in Murcia, Spain) for the first time to receive a group psychoeducational intervention. The association between the information collected with the BEARS and scores on the related subscales of the CSHQ was assessed by Mann–Whitney U tests.Children who, according to the BEARS, had a sleep problem obtained scores on the CSHQ-related subscales significantly higher than children who did not have a sleep problem (all Ps < 0.05).Our results support the concurrent validity of the Spanish translation of the BEARS to detect sleep problems in paediatric nursing assessments. Further studies, with bigger and more heterogeneous samples, are warranted.