What Should I Do if I’m Alone with a Child Who Has a Seizure?
Rule #1: Don't Panic
Don’t panic! If you see your child (or any child) convulsing, take a deep breath. It’s more important that you remain calm.
First, protect the child from harm. Position the child in their side. They should not lie on their stomachs. Children have limited protective reflexes during a seizure. They may suffocate if lying face down. Similarly, they should not lie on their back. Children often drool or vomit at the beginning of or during a seizure. They may aspirate. Therefore, rotate them to their side. Do not stick your finger or any other object in the child’s mouth. They cannot swallow their tongue. Protect them from hard or sharp objects.
Look at your watch. Most seizures stop within several minutes. This seems like forever while the seizure is occurring. After it stops, let the child sleep. If—by your watch—the ongoing convulsing approaches five minutes, then call 911. Once that amount of time has elapsed the seizure may not quit on its own.
If this was the child’s first and only seizure, a doctor or emergency-room visit is advisable to determine whether any specific disorder triggered it. Be assured, however, that it is only a very rare seizure that is caused by a brain tumor.
About the Source
Howard Kelfer, M.D. has seen dramatic growth of of the neurology practice at Cook Children's since its inception in 1994. He has been a guiding force in its ability to serve thousands of patients. His nationally recognized team is an admittedly cohesive one which has grown in visibility and ability to change lives.