Seizures (fits) in children
During a seizure, lots of muscles in the body contract
uncontrollably. It’s also called a convulsion or fit. Seizures are
caused by something interrupting the electrical activity in the
brain and they usually make someone lose responsiveness.
Seizures can be a symptom of epilepsy. However, epilepsy is very
rare in children.
In children, seizures normally happen as a result of a high
temperature, or because of an infection such as a throat or
ear infection. This is because the electrical systems in their
brain are not developed enough to deal with the body’s high
It can be very worrying for parents to see their child
having a seizure, but if dealt with properly it is rarely
dangerous. Still, you should always take your
child to the doctor afterwards so they can check what may
have caused the seizure.
Watch our video - Seizures
What to look for - Seizures
If you think a child is having a seizure, there are seven key
things to look for:
- 1. Vigorous shaking with clenched fists and an arched back
- 2. Signs of fever – hot, flushed skin, and sweating
- 3. Twitching of their face and squinting, fixed or upturned
- 4. Holding their breath, with a red, puffy face and neck, and
drooling at the mouth
- 5. Possible vomiting
- 6. Loss of control of their bowel or bladder
- 7. Partial or full loss of responsiveness
What you need to do - Seizures
• Don’t restrain or move them. Instead, protect them from
hurting themselves. Clear away any potentially dangerous objects,
like hot drinks or sharp objects, and put pillows or soft padding
• Cool them down. Take away any bedding and take off a layer of
clothing. Make sure they get some fresh air by opening a door or
window, but be careful you don’t cool them down too much.
• Once the seizure has stopped, they’re usually very sleepy or
unresponsive, so put them into the recovery position to help them keep their
airway open. Then call 999 or 112 for emergency medical help.
• Reassure them – and whoever’s looking after them, if that is
• While you wait for help to arrive, keep checking their
breathing, pulse and level of response.