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Electroencephalogram in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about an electroencephalogram (EEG)?

An EEG is a test that measures the electrical activity in your child's brain. It can help providers decide what treatments your child needs. An EEG can help diagnose or monitor any of the following:

  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders
  • Brain infection, disease, or injury
  • Brain activity during brain surgery or a coma
  • Brain activity before a medical procedure or surgery

How should I prepare my child for an EEG?

Your child's provider will talk to you about how to prepare your child for an EEG. The provider will tell you which medicines to give your child or not give on the day of the test. Do not let your child drink or eat foods with caffeine on the day of the test. Do not put oils or lotions on your child's scalp or hair for 24 hours before the test. This includes conditioner, hair spray, hair cream, or hair gel.

What will happen during an EEG?

  • Your child will not feel pain during the test. You may be able to stay with your child during the test or you may need to leave the room. Providers will ask your child to lie still and not talk during the test. A provider will put gel or cream on your child's scalp. The provider will place small discs in different places on your child's head. The discs will be connected to wires and a monitor. The monitor will record the electrical activity of your child's brain.
  • During the test your child may be asked to change how fast he or she breathes. Your child may also be asked to look at pictures or a flashing light. The provider may make loud noises.
  • Bright lights or loud noises may cause your child to have a seizure during the test. Providers may give your child medicine to control or stop the seizure. They will also help protect your child from injury.
  • Your child may be given medicine to help him or her sleep during the test. Your child may also be videotaped during the test. The videotape will help providers watch for signs of a seizure.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.