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Fainting in Children: Care Instructions


Children faint for many different reasons. Sometimes children pass out when they get hurt, see blood, or are otherwise upset or scared. Fainting often occurs when a child suddenly stands up from a sitting or lying position. Some children faint from holding their breath during tantrums. In these cases, fainting occurs because blood flow to the brain is cut off for a short time.

When children faint, their legs or arms often twitch or jerk slightly a few times. This is not a seizure or fit. Children usually awaken seconds after fainting.

Most of the time fainting is nothing to worry about. Children who faint often outgrow it. But if your child faints again, tell your doctor. The doctor may want your child to have more tests to rule out other causes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If your child faints:
    • Protect the child from getting hurt. Ease the child to the floor, or lay a very small child face down on your lap.
    • Check to make sure your child is breathing. (Put your ear over your child's mouth to listen for breathing sounds.) If your child is not breathing, call 911 and stay on the phone.
    • Prop up your child's legs and feet above their chest. After your child wakes up, have your child stay down for 10 to 15 minutes.
    • If your child is going to vomit, turn the child onto their side, which will help prevent choking.
    • When your child wakes up, give them a glass of fruit juice. Put a cold face cloth on their forehead.
    • Check to see if your child got hurt from falling.
  • Tell your child to stand with the leg muscles relaxed, rather than keeping the knees locked.
  • Teach your child to stand up slowly from a sitting or lying position to avoid fainting.
  • Teach your child to lie down or sit down and put their head between the knees when they feel faint. Warning signs are feeling dizzy, weak, sick to the stomach, or warm.
  • Your child may need to drink more fluids.
  • Have your child avoid situations that cause dizziness or fainting. These include hot weather, hot tubs, and standing for a long time.
  • Have your child take medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with their medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You are not able to quickly wake up your child after he or she faints.
  • Your child has blurred vision, numbness or tingling in any part of the body, or trouble walking or talking.
  • Your child is confused after he or she awakens.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child faints again.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.