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Recurrent Seizures In Children


A seizure is an episode of abnormal brain activity. A seizure can cause jerky muscle movements, loss of consciousness, or confusion. Recurrent means your child has a seizure more than once. The cause of your child's seizures may not be known. Recurrent seizures may occur if your child does not take antiseizure medicine as directed. Common triggers include certain medicines, a head injury, a tumor, a stroke, or exposure to alcohol or other toxins. In children younger than 6 years, a fever can sometimes trigger a seizure. This is called a febrile seizure.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child stops breathing, turns blue, or you cannot feel his pulse.
  • Your child cannot be woken after his seizure.
  • Your child's seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • Your child has more than 1 seizure before he is fully awake or aware.
  • Your child has a seizure and is diabetic.
  • Your child has a seizure in the water.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child does not act normally after a seizure.
  • Your child is very weak and tired, has a stiff neck, or cannot stop vomiting.
  • Your child is injured during a seizure.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has seizures even with treatment.
  • Your child picks at his clothes, smacks his lips, or fidgets, but does not seem to be aware of his actions.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need the following:

  • Antiseizure medicine is given to prevent seizures. Do not stop giving your child this medicine. Your child may need blood tests to check the level of medicine in his blood. His healthcare provider may need to change or adjust his medicine.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider or pediatric neurologist as directed:

Your child may need more tests to help find the cause of his seizures. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your child's seizures:

  • Keep a journal of your child's seizure activity. Write down how often he has a seizure. Include what he was doing before the seizure, and how he acted during the seizure. This information may help healthcare providers make changes to his medicine or decide if he needs other treatments.
  • Help your child identify triggers of a seizure. Many things that trigger a seizure. Examples include flashing lights or spending long periods of time on the computer. Identify triggers so that you can help keep your child away from them.
  • Help your child manage stress. Stress may increase your child's risk for a seizure. Ask your healthcare provider if your child needs therapy to help him manage and cope with stress. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep and exercise. These actions may decrease stress and his risk for another seizure.
  • Feed your child foods recommended by his healthcare provider or nutritionist. Your child may need to follow this diet if medicine cannot control his seizures.

Keep your child safe:

Your child may need to follow these safety measures for up to 12 months after his seizure. Ask for more information.

  • Your child must take showers instead of baths.
  • Your child must wear a helmet when he rides a bike, scooter, or skateboard.
  • Do not let your child sleep on the top of a bunkbed.
  • Do not let your child climb trees, rocks, or mountains.
  • Do not let your child lock his bedroom or bathroom door.
  • Do not let your child swim without an adult who is informed about his condition.
  • Tell your child's teachers and babysitters that he had a seizure. Give them written instructions to follow if he has another seizure.

What to do if your child has another seizure:

  • Do not panic.
  • Note the start time of the seizure. Record how long it lasts.
  • Gently guide your child to the floor or a soft surface. Cushion his head and remove sharp objects from the area around him.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • Place your child on his side to help prevent him from swallowing saliva or vomit.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • Loosen your child's clothing around the head and neck.
  • Remove any objects from your child's mouth. Do not put anything in your child's mouth. This may prevent him from breathing.
  • Perform CPR if your child stops breathing or you cannot feel his pulse.
  • Let your child sleep or rest after his seizure. He may be confused for a short time after his seizure. Do not give him anything to eat or drink until he is fully awake.

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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.