What to do in case of a seizureWWhat to do in case of a seizureWhat to do in case of a seizureEnglishNeurologyChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BrainNervous systemConditions and diseasesCaregivers Adult (19+) EducatorsNA2010-02-04T05:00:00ZIrene Elliott, RN, MHSc, ACNP;Janice Mulligan, MSW, RSW8.0000000000000064.00000000000001730.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Read about what to do in case of each type of seizure to ensure your child's safety and comfort.</p> <p>Some seizures only involve short periods of unresponsiveness and do not require specific interventions. Other types of seizures are more intense and so require specific interventions such as ensuring the child maintains a clear airway to allow air into the lungs. </p> <p>It is important for you, your family members, teachers, babysitters, and anyone else who looks after your child to know what to do when your child has a seizure. The most important things to do in response to any type of seizure are to remain calm and to keep your child safe. No matter what the seizure type, if your child seems to be having prolonged seizures, many seizures in a short period of time (clusters of seizures), or many more seizures than usual, seek medical attention.</p> <p>Here are some suggestions for how to help your child with different seizure types. You may find that some tips work better than others, or that your child needs one particular type of help during a seizure. You may already know or will come to know what works best for your child. Let other people know as well. </p><h2>Key points</h2> <ul><li>When your child has a seizure, remain calm, keep them safe and make them as comfortable as possible.</li> <li>Observe and take notes about your child's seizure, for instance when and how the seizure began, what your child's movements were like during and right after the seizure and how long the seizure lasted.</li> <li>Call 911 if your child's seizure lasts a long time (more than five minutes), if your child does not regain consciousness after a seizure or if your child seems confused for more than an hour after the seizure ends. </li> <li>Call your child's doctor if your child's seizures seem unusual or are happening more often than usual.</li> </ul>
Quoi faire en cas de criseQQuoi faire en cas de criseWhat to do in case of a seizureFrenchNeurologyChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BrainNervous systemConditions and diseasesCaregivers Adult (19+) EducatorsNA2010-02-04T05:00:00ZIrene Elliott, RN, MHSc, ACNP;Janice Mulligan, MSW, RSW8.0000000000000064.00000000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Apprenez-en davantage sur les mesures que vous devez prendre dans chaque type de crise pour assurer la sécurité et le confort de votre enfant.</p><p>Certaines crises ne comportent que de brèves périodes de non-réceptivité et ne nécessitent aucune intervention particulière. D’autres types de crises sont plus intenses et nécessitent des interventions précises comme s’assurer que l’enfant garde ses voies respiratoires dégagées pour permettre une bonne oxygénation.</p> <p>Vous, les membres de votre famille, les gardiens et toute autre personne qui s’occupe de votre enfant devrez savoir quoi faire lorsque celui-ci a une crise. Le plus important dans tout type de crise est de demeurer calme et d’assurer la sécurité de l’enfant. Dans tous les cas, si votre enfant semble avoir de longues crises, des crises répétées en peu de temps (grappes de crises) ou un plus grand nombre de crises que d’habitude, consultez un médecin.</p> <p>Voici quelques suggestions pour aider votre enfant dans différents types de crises. Vous pourrez constater que certains conseils fonctionnent mieux que d’autres ou que votre enfant a besoin d’une aide particulière lors d’une crise. Avec le temps, vous saurez ce qui fonctionne bien pour votre enfant, si vous ne le savez pas déjà. Il est important que vous en informiez les autres également.</p><ul><li>Lorsque votre enfant a une crise, restez calme, assurez sa sécurité et faites en sorte qu’il soit aussi confortable que possible.</li> <li>Observez-le et prenez des notes à propos de la crise qu’il a traversée; par exemple, quand et comment elle a commencé, quels mouvements votre enfant a faits pendant et tout de suite après la crise et combien de temps elle a duré.</li> <li>Composez le 9-1-1 si la crise de votre enfant dure longtemps (plus de cinq minutes), s’il ne reprend pas connaissance ensuite ou s’il semble confus pendant plus d’une heure après la fin de la crise.</li> <li>Appelez le médecin de votre enfant si la crise de votre enfant semble inhabituelle ou se produit plus souvent que d’habitude.</li></ul>

 

 

What to do in case of a seizure2104.00000000000What to do in case of a seizureWhat to do in case of a seizureWEnglishNeurologyChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BrainNervous systemConditions and diseasesCaregivers Adult (19+) EducatorsNA2010-02-04T05:00:00ZIrene Elliott, RN, MHSc, ACNP;Janice Mulligan, MSW, RSW8.0000000000000064.00000000000001730.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Read about what to do in case of each type of seizure to ensure your child's safety and comfort.</p> <p>Some seizures only involve short periods of unresponsiveness and do not require specific interventions. Other types of seizures are more intense and so require specific interventions such as ensuring the child maintains a clear airway to allow air into the lungs. </p> <p>It is important for you, your family members, teachers, babysitters, and anyone else who looks after your child to know what to do when your child has a seizure. The most important things to do in response to any type of seizure are to remain calm and to keep your child safe. No matter what the seizure type, if your child seems to be having prolonged seizures, many seizures in a short period of time (clusters of seizures), or many more seizures than usual, seek medical attention.</p> <p>Here are some suggestions for how to help your child with different seizure types. You may find that some tips work better than others, or that your child needs one particular type of help during a seizure. You may already know or will come to know what works best for your child. Let other people know as well. </p><h2>Key points</h2> <ul><li>When your child has a seizure, remain calm, keep them safe and make them as comfortable as possible.</li> <li>Observe and take notes about your child's seizure, for instance when and how the seizure began, what your child's movements were like during and right after the seizure and how long the seizure lasted.</li> <li>Call 911 if your child's seizure lasts a long time (more than five minutes), if your child does not regain consciousness after a seizure or if your child seems confused for more than an hour after the seizure ends. </li> <li>Call your child's doctor if your child's seizures seem unusual or are happening more often than usual.</li> </ul><div class="asset-video"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FCh8eKYFiY?rel=0" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div> <figure><span class="asset-image-title">What to do if someone has a seizure</span> <div class="asset-animation"> src="https://akhpub.aboutkidshealth.ca/Style%20Library/akh/swfanimations/swf.html?swffile=Seizure_whattodo_MED_ANI_EN.swf" </div></figure> <h2>Tonic-clonic seizures<br></h2><p> <a href="/Article?contentid=2066&language=English">Tonic-clonic seizures</a> are often intense and frightening to witness. With these types of seizures, you should take certain safety measures so that your child is not hurt. </p><h3>Step 1: Stay calm and reassure others</h3><p>Many people are scared when they see someone having a seizure. You can help your child by staying calm. Reassure them and others around you that everything is under control.</p><h3>Step 2: Prevent injury</h3><ul><li>Keep your child away from sources of danger. If they are near a stairway, a hot stove, a busy street, or other hazards, protect them as much as possible. </li><li>Remove nearby objects that are sharp or hard. Try to put something soft like a folded jacket under their head.</li><li>During the tonic phase of the seizure, they may temporarily stop breathing (usually about 30 to 45 seconds). This is because the muscles, including chest muscles, increase their tone (stiffen) for this period. Sometimes their face may become dusky or blue, especially around the mouth. This is because more blood is being pumped to protect their vital organs, with less blood to the surface blood vessels of the body, including the face. You may notice a similar colour change when you place a small child in cold water. Do not try to give them CPR during the seizure; this is not necessary. They will start breathing again, albeit shallowly, during the clonic (muscle spasm) phase. </li><li>Do not hold them down or try to stop their movements, as this might result in injury.</li></ul><h3>Step 3: Be aware of the length of the seizure</h3><p>If possible, note the time that the seizure begins, and how long it lasts. If it is the child’s first convulsive seizure, or if the seizure lasts more than five minutes, call 911 or emergency services. Pay attention to the nature and the length of the seizure so you can give an accurate report. </p><h3>Step 4: Make your child as comfortable as possible</h3><ul><li>Remove glasses so they do not break.</li><li>If your child has food in their mouth, do not attempt to take the food out as this may actually push it farther in.</li><li>If possible, roll them gently onto their side or roll their head and if possible their upper body to the side so that any fluids can drain out of their mouth. You may need to wait until they have stopped shaking. </li><li>Loosen anything around their neck to make breathing easier. Loosen buttons or belts that are tight.</li></ul><h3>Step 5: Do not put anything in your child’s mouth</h3><p>Putting a finger, a spoon, a pencil, or any other object in their mouth could result in choking or broken teeth, not to mention a bitten finger. It is a common misconception that people can swallow their tongue during a seizure, but this is not true because the tongue is attached to the base of the mouth. </p><h3>Step 6: Keep bystanders away</h3><p>Only one or two people are needed for first aid. Your child may feel upset and embarrassed when they become conscious if many people have been watching. </p><h3>Step 7: Do not give your child any water, food, or pills until the seizure is over and they are fully alert</h3><p>This will prevent choking. In some cases, your child’s doctor may have prescribed medication to be used at the time of the seizure; use it as directed. An easy way to check if they are alert is by asking simple questions until your child has returned to their usual state. </p><h3>Step 8: Be sensitive and supportive after the seizure</h3><p>Children usually recover from seizures on their own.</p><ul><li>If your child is old enough, explain to them exactly what happened, and how long the seizure lasted.</li><li>Your child may want to be comforted. Help to reorient them by telling them where they are and describing to them what has happened.</li><li>They may have wet their pants or had a bowel movement during a seizure. Providing dry undergarments as soon as possible after the seizure will help them to feel more comfortable and may lessen any feelings of embarrassment. Tell them you know that they could not help it. </li></ul><h3>Step 9: After the seizure</h3><ul><li>If your child complains of minor pain from a headache, muscle ache, or bitten tongue, <a href="/Article?contentid=62&language=English">acetaminophen​</a> may help.</li><li>If they have severe pain, or if they were injured during the seizure, take them to see a doctor.</li><li>If your child has a fever associated with the seizure, consult your child’s doctor. They may have an infection that needs to be treated.</li></ul><h2>Simple partial seizures</h2><p>A <a href="/Article?contentid=2069&language=English">simple partial seizure</a> affects only part of the brain, and the child is usually conscious and aware for the duration of the seizure. If your child is having a simple partial seizure, keep them safe; no other intervention is usually needed.</p><h2>Complex partial seizures</h2><p> <a href="/Article?contentid=2070&language=English">Complex partial seizures</a> affect parts of the brain that involve alertness and awareness. They come in many different forms. Your child may wander around or perform automatisms (repetitive, apparently purposeful movements such as lip-smacking or hand-rubbing). They may react unpredictably if you speak to them or touch them. However, during this type of seizure a child does not know what they are doing: they do not attack a specific person on purpose, nor are they purposefully destructive.</p><h3>What to do if your child is having a complex partial seizure</h3><ul><li>If they are walking or running around, try to be a barrier. Guide them gently away from hot or sharp objects and stairs, as they could hurt themselves or fall. </li><li>Don’t restrain them unless it is absolutely necessary (if they are in an unsafe situation), as they may strike out or try to run away. </li><li>If you need to touch them, approach them with caution from the side and speak to them so that they don’t feel threatened.</li><li>Once the seizure is over, they may be confused or tired. Quietly explain what happened and where they are. Give them time to rest and recover. </li></ul><h2>Absence seizures</h2><p> <a href="/Article?contentid=2065&language=English">Absence seizures</a> involve short periods of unresponsiveness, often many times a day. If your child is having an absence seizure:</p><ul><li>Don’t shout; they cannot hear you.</li><li>If you are not sure whether they are having a seizure or just daydreaming, touch them gently on the arm.</li><li>No other intervention is typically required.</li></ul><h2>Atonic and tonic seizures</h2><p><a href="/Article?contentid=2068&language=English">Atonic seizures</a> make all the muscles in the body go limp, while <a href="/Article?contentid=2066&language=English">tonic seizures</a> make them go stiff. These seizures are often known as "drop attacks" because they can cause your child to fall down suddenly if they are standing when the seizure begins. It can be difficult or impossible to intervene in time to keep your child from falling. </p><p>If your child often has seizures of this type, they may need to wear a helmet to protect their head from injury.</p><p>No specific intervention is needed for one of these seizures, unless your child is injured while falling.</p><h2>Oxygen</h2><p>In many cases, a child who is having a seizure will be given oxygen by emergency services. However, the benefits of this have not been studied. In most cases, it is not necessary to give a child oxygen during a brief seizure.</p><h2>Seizures in water</h2><p>If your child has a seizure in the water:</p><ul><li>support them and keep their head above water</li><li>get them out of the water as soon as possible</li><li>check to see if they are breathing and if not, begin CPR</li><li>always have them checked by a doctor as soon as possible, even if they seem to be fine, in case they have breathed in some water that might contain harmful bacteria. </li></ul><p>You can’t always be there while your child is having a seizure. Make sure friends, family, babysitters and teachers also know how to help them if necessary. </p><h2>Taking notes</h2><p>For all seizures, especially the first few seizures your child experiences, try to observe as much as possible about the seizure and record it as needed. This will help your child’s doctor understand more about their epilepsy. </p><p>Information you can observe includes:</p><ul><li>the time of day the seizure occurred</li><li>what your child was doing before the seizure</li><li>if your child was sick, tired or stressed</li><li>if your child is taking their seizure medication as prescribed</li><li>if they are taking any other medication</li><li>how the seizure began</li><li>if they described feeling any warning symptoms before the seizure</li><li>what their movements (if any) looked like during the seizure: did their head turn and, if so, in which direction or did an arm or leg shake?</li><li>if the movements occurred on a particular side of their body</li><li>whether they were able to talk and respond during the seizure</li><li>whether they made any sounds</li><li>the length of the seizure</li><li>if they were confused, tired or sore after the seizure</li><li>if they could speak and move their body normally after the seizure</li><li>if anything about this seizure was different from their other seizures.</li></ul><h2>What to do in emergencies</h2><p>Some seizures are not emergencies. Sometimes, though, a child can experience status epilepticus. This includes seizures that last a long time (more than 30 minutes) or seizures that occur one after the other without time to recover in between. Status epilepticus should be stopped as soon as possible. The longer a seizure continues, the more difficult it becomes to stop the seizures with emergency anti-seizure medications.</p><h3>When to call 911 or emergency services</h3><ul><li>Call 911 or emergency services if:</li><li>this is your child’s first seizure</li><li>a seizure lasts a long time (usually five minutes or more)</li><li>you have given an emergency anti-seizure medication such as <a href="/Article?contentid=176&language=English">lorazepam​</a> or <a href="/Article?contentid=123&language=English">diazepam​</a> after a seizure persists for five minutes and the seizure continues for more than a few minutes afterwards</li><li>your child has several seizures without time to recover between them</li><li>your child does not regain consciousness after a seizure</li><li>you think your child may have been injured during the seizure</li></ul><p>The longer a seizure continues, the more difficult it will be to stop. However, every child is different, and every child’s epilepsy is individual. For example, if your child usually has seizures that last seven minutes, you and your child’s neurologist may decide that you can wait longer before calling an ambulance. If you are in a more remote area, make sure you know how long it will take to get your child to a hospital, and calculate accordingly. Depending on where you live, it may be important to have a letter from your doctor on how to manage your child’s epilepsy. However, all doctors that work in emergency rooms are trained in how to stop seizures. Make sure that people who look after your child also know what to do if your child has a seizure.</p><h3>When to call your child's doctor</h3><ul><li>Call your child's doctor: if your child has seizures more often than usual</li><li>if your child has a different type of seizure than normal</li><li>if your child is ill</li><li>if you notice anything else unusual about your child’s seizures</li></ul><p>Keep your child’s doctor informed about your child’s seizures at each check-up. You may find it helpful to keep a diary of your observations, including the date and time of the seizure; what your child was doing when the seizure happened; and what the seizure looked like. </p>What to do in case of a seizure

Thank you to our sponsors

AboutKidsHealth is proud to partner with the following sponsors as they support our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Canada and around the world by making accessible health care information available via the internet.