Emergency advice

If a child has a seizure:

  1. Don’t restrain them.
  2. Place soft padding around them.
  3. Cool them.
  4. Once stopped place in recovery position.
  5. Call 999.

What are seizures?

A seizure can also be known as a convulsion or fit. In young children, seizures are usually caused by a raised body temperature, often following an infection. This type of seizure, known as a febrile seizure, occurs because the brain is not mature enough to cope with the body’s high temperature.

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • loss of or lack of a response
  • vigorous shaking, with clenched fists and an arched back
  • signs of a fever, with hot, flushed skin and sweating
  • twitching of the face
  • squinting, fixed or rolled back eyes
  • breath holding with a red face and neck
  • drooling at the mouth
  • vomiting
  • loss of bladder or bowel control.

What to do

  1. Seizures in children - clear any objects away from around the child

    Clear any objects away from around the child that could be dangerous. Then place pillows or soft padding, such as rolled up towels, around the child. This will help to protect them from injuring themselves while having the seizure.

    • Do not restrain the child or move them unless they are in immediate danger.
    • Do not put anything in their mouth.
  2. Seizures in children - cool them down

    Try to cool the child down. Take off any bedding and clothes such as a t-shirt to help cool them. You might need to wait for the seizure to stop to do this. Make sure there is fresh air circulating but be careful not to overcool the child.

  3. Seizures in children - put them into the recovery position

    When the seizure has stopped, place them in the recovery position to keep the airway open. Call 999 or 112 for emergency help.

  4. Seizures in children - call for help

    While you wait for help to arrive, reassure the child and parent. Monitor the child’s level of response.

Related first aid advice

How to put a child in the recovery position

If a child is not responding to you but breathing normally, it’s safe to put them in the recovery position. Learn what to do.

Seizures in babies

Seizures in babies can happen as a result of of a raised body temperature. Find out what to look for and what to do.

How to put a baby in the recovery position

If a baby is not responding to you but breathing normally, it’s safe to put them in the recovery position to keep the airway open and to prevent them from choking. Learn how.

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