Convulsions and Seizures in Children

What happens when a child has a seizure and suffers from convulsions? Learn to administer seizure first aid and find out what precautions to take for convulsions without fever.

During a seizure, a child suffers convulsions and may fall unconscious, with his eyes rolled backwards. His body may stiffen and his arms and legs may jerk uncontrollably. Most seizures last less than five minutes.

Convulsion without fever occurs in 0.4 percent of children. If they become recurring, the child is said to have epilepsy.

Recurrent seizures can be controlled with special medications (anticonvulsants).

Seizure First Aid 

1. Leave your child on the floor or ground 
During a seizure, your child should be left on the floor or ground. Move him only if he is in a dangerous place.
2. Protect your child's airway
o If you can clearly see that your child has something in his mouth, clear it with a finger to prevent choking. Otherwise, do not insert anything inside the mouth, especially if he is clenching his teeth.
o Place your child on the side to help drain the secretions.
o If your child's breathing becomes noisy, pull the jaw and tongue forward by placing two fingers behind the corner of the jaw on each side, so as to maintain the airway.
3. Rectal valium may be given if prescribed by your child's physician. 

Common Mistakes In Seizure First Aid

During the seizure, don't try to restrain your child or stop his convulsions. Once started, the seizure will run its course no matter what you do.
Don't try to resuscitate your child just because breathing stops momentarily for five to 10 seconds. Instead, just maintain the airway and keep it open.
Don't force anything into your child's mouth. This is unnecessary and can injure the mouth or the teeth, cause vomiting, result in a serious bite of the inserted finger or cause further choking — children rarely bite their tongues during a convulsion. 

Care for Children Who Suffer Seizures and Convulsions

1. Treatment for previously diagnosed epilepsy: After a seizure, let your child sleep or rest, as the brain will be temporarily exhausted. There is no need to bring your child to an emergency room for every seizure or convulsion without fever. When you discuss your child's treatment with your physician, ask if you should give your child an extra dose of anticonvulsant when he wakes up from the seizure to prevent another seizure.
2. Precautions: While most sports are safe, be certain to avoid activities that would be unsafe if he suddenly had a seizure. These include activities involving heights (e.g. climbing a tree or rope), cycling on a highway, or swimming alone. Wind surfing and scuba diving must be avoided. Have him take showers instead of baths and only when someone else is in the house to prevent the risk of drowning.

Consult Your Child's Doctor Immediately If

This is the first time your child is having a seizure.
The seizure lasts more than five minutes. If the seizure lasts more than 10 minutes, you should call an ambulance.
Your child stays confused or groggy for more than an hour.
Another seizure occurs within the same day.

Back to Top