Coping with Seizures in Children

Children with epilepsy may have seizures only once in a while, or they may have them every day. And though seizures can be scary for parents and caregivers, they aren’t painful and are usually brief.


What to do if your child has a seizure

If your child shows signs of having a convulsive (also known as a major motor or gand mal) seizure:

  • Stay calm.

  • Make sure the child is breathing.

  • Roll the child onto his or her side.

  • Place the child on the ground in a safe area.

  • Remove any nearby objects that the child might hit.

  • Loosen any clothing around the child’s head and neck.

  • Remain with your child until the seizure is over.

Watch closely so you can describe what happened before, during, and after the seizure.


What not to do during and after a seizure

  • Do not try to restrain the child’s movements.

  • Do not put anything in the child’s mouth.

  • Do not wake the child if he or she falls asleep after the seizure.

  • Do not give the child anything to eat or drink until he or she is awake and alert.


Keeping your child safe

  • Develop a list of safety measures with your doctor to prevent injury to your child when he or she has a seizure.

  • Carefully monitor activities such as swimming and bathing to keep your child safe in the case of a seizure.

  • Inform other caretakers of your child’s condition. Instruct them in how to respond to a seizure if it happens.

  • If your child is on medication, make sure it is taken as prescribed.

  • Keep track of the number of remaining pills and refills. Call your doctor for refills if you are running low.

  • Speak to your doctor about if and when it will be safe for your child to learn to drive and get a driver's license.



Call 911 

Call 911 or emergency services if your child:

  • Has trouble breathing

  • Has bluish skin

  • Has a heart condition

  • Hurts himself during the seizure

  • Has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes

  • Has a seizure that seems different than usual

  • Remains unconscious, unresponsive, or confused for more than 5 minutes after the seizure