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Seizure in Children Without Fever or Known Seizure Disorder: Care Instructions

A child's brain


A seizure is a brief, abnormal change in the brain's electrical activity. Seizures can cause a range of problems. Not all seizures cause shaking (convulsions). During some types, your child may stare into space. Your child may look normal but may not seem to hear you.

Many things can cause seizures. When a seizure is not caused by a fever, the cause could be very low blood sugar. Or the cause could be a head injury. A seizure also can be a sign of epilepsy. It can cause seizures that may come back now and then. Other things, such as abnormal heart rhythms or anxiety, can cause symptoms that look like seizures.

One seizure does not mean that your child has a serious health problem. But you should watch for more seizures. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if any occur. The doctor may need to do more tests and treatment.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

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 has another seizure:
    • Protect your child from injury. Ease your child to the floor.
    • Turn your child onto their side, which will help clear the mouth of any vomit or saliva. This will help keep the tongue from blocking your child's airflow. Keeping your child's head and chin forward also will help keep the airway open.
    • Loosen your child's clothing.
    • Do not put anything in your child's mouth to stop tongue-biting. Putting something in the mouth could injure you or your child.
    • Try to stay calm. It will help calm your child. Comfort your child with quiet, soothing talk.
    • Time the length of the seizure. If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, call 911.
    • Note the date and time of day that the seizure occurred. Write down details about what happened before and during the seizure. Include what your child ate before the seizure or what your child was doing.
    • Provide a safe area where your child can rest. Check for injuries and stay with your child until your child is fully awake and alert.
    • Wait until your child is fully awake and alert before giving your child something to eat or drink.
  • The doctor may give your child medicine that prevents seizures. Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

When should you call for help?

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

  • Your child has another seizure during the same illness.
  • Your child has new symptoms. These may include weakness or numbness in any part of the body.

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

  • Your child is not acting normally after the seizure.

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

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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.