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Instructions for Parents with Children Suffering from Seizures

Seizure first aid

It is likely you already know your child has seizure illness.
There are many kinds of seizures. Here are three main types and first aid for each.

What is a seizure?

A seizure is a sudden release of energy by the brain. It can cause a change in how a child acts.

What is a petit mal seizure?

Petit mal seizures are short staring spells or quick moments when the child is not paying attention. They do not last long. It can be hard to tell if your child is having a seizure or staring into space thinking hard about something.

What to do if your child has a petit mal seizure:

• If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes this is an emergency. Call 911. Have your child taken to the hospital.

• Call your child’s doctor or health care provider.

A child may need to hear instructions more than once. If you know your child has petit mal seizures, this is important to tell school teachers.

What is a grand mal seizure?

Grand mal seizures cause a child’s body to jerk. He may pass out (become unconscious). He may look pale or blue from problems breathing. He may wet his pants or have a bowel movement. Seizure first aid

What to do if your child has a grand mal 2 seizure:

• Make sure your child is safe. Put him on his side on the bed or floor. Move toys and furniture out of the way. Put something under his head like a sweater or jacket.

• Do not put anything in your child’s mouth or between her teeth. She will not swallow her tongue. You cannot stop a child from biting her tongue.

• Check the time. You will need to know how long the seizure lasts.

• If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes this is an emergency. Call 911. Have your child taken to the hospital.

• Don’t worry if there is extra spit in the child’s mouth.

• Loosen tight clothing around the neck.

• Remove eyeglasses.

• Do not try to hold your child still. You cannot stop the seizure.

• Stay calm.

What happens after the grand mal seizure?

• Your child will want to be comforted.

• He may be confused. He may be tired and want to sleep.

• A child may wet or have a bowel movement during a seizure. Help him get clean. Tell him, you know he could not help it.

• After the seizure, call your child’s doctor or health care provider.

• If you already know your child has seizures, her medicine may need to be changed.

What is a febrile seizure?

Febrile seizures can happen when young children get a high fever.

What is a complex partial seizure? 

Complex partial seizures seem to be a release of energy from only part of the brain. A child may act in any or all of the following ways:

• Have a glassy stare.

• Give no answer or a confused answer to a question.

• Sit, stand or walk around.

• Make lip smacking or chewing motions.

• Fidget with her clothes.

• Look drunk, drugged, or confused.

What to do if your child has a complex partial seizure:

• Be calm.

• Check the time. You will need to know how long the seizure lasts.

• If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes this is an emergency. Call 911. Have your child taken to the hospital.

• Do not try to hold your child still, except to keep her safe.

• Do not leave her alone.

• If your child appears angry, it is best not to talk or argue with her until after the seizure.

What happens after the complex partial seizure?

• Be comforting. Help your child to know where he is and what is going on.

• Call your child’s doctor or health care provider.

 

Source: Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center Seattle, Washington

This handout has been reviewed by community and Children’s Hospital health care providers. However, your child’s needs are unique. Before you act or rely upon this information, please talk with your child’s health care provider. Thanks to Roger Fernandes, illustrator, Kathy Adamski, Neurology CNS, and Penny O’Leary, writer, O’Leary Consulting Service.

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3 Comments

  1. I am a parent and this was a useful article for me having to deal with seizures at home

  2. Thank God that my child does not have such a 5 minute seizure.

  3. Thank you for the thorough seizure instructions, very useful

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