Seizures in Children
Also known as: convulsions, focal seizures, partial seizures, generalized seizures, epilepsy
What are seizures?
A seizure is a sudden abnormal burst of electrical activity in one or more parts of the brain from a variety of causes, that interrupt the normal brain signals and result in a wide variety of symptoms depending on from where the electrical signals originate.
The main types of seizures are focal (partial seizures) or generalized. Both are quite common in infants and children. When a child has recurrent seizures for which no cause can be found it’s diagnosed as epilepsy.
What causes seizures in children?
The most common type of seizure is associated with fever (often with a high temperature and called a febrile seizure). For many children with recurrent seizures, the cause is unknown, though in some there is a family history of seizures. Other causes include:
And a wide variety of other uncommon conditions.
What are the signs/symptoms of seizures?
Depending on where in the brain the abnormal electrical activity originates, seizure symptoms will vary.
The common signs of seizures include:
- changes in movement, body shaking uncontrollably with the muscles alternating between contraction and relaxation stiffness of limbs
- loss of consciousness
- loss of bowel or bladder control
- rolling or rapid blinking of the eyes
- drooling, grunting, clenching of teeth
- bluish tinge to lips or tongue (cyanosis).
Some present with attention or changes in level of awareness. Most seizures pass within two minutes; seizures that last longer can be a medical emergency.
What are seizure care options for children?
First aid management includes preventing the child from harming themselves. Glasses should be removed, the child should be laid in a safe area on their side, unrestrained, and nothing should be placed in the child’s mouth. If the child stops breathing for more than 1 minute, mouth to mouth rescue resuscitation should be started, and/or if the seizure is prolonged, 911 should be called.
Management of recurrent seizures will involve management by a team of subspecialists with a wide variety of medical, surgical and other options available, depending on the specific needs of your child.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 4/22/2019 9:21:42 AM
Weekly Support Programs
8 week program. This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. The weekly sessions teach innovative techniques to assist children with managing feelings, developing organization skills, maximizing their concentration abilities and socialization skills. Learn more.
Swimming and water safety lessons are offered by a trained instructor for babies as young as 6 months to adolescents under 21 years old. Teaching plans are individualized and all children, including infants and children with special needs, will be able to learn. Learn more.
8 week program. Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. Learn more.
Camp DMC is a summer program for children with special needs run by Nicklaus Children’s Dan Marino Outpatient Center. Please note: We will not offer Camp DMC during summer of 2019. Learn more.
This program is provided by a certified yoga instructor. It offers children and teens the following benefits: managing stress through breathing, self-awareness, healthy movement and meditation. Yoga also promotes strength, flexibility, coordination and body awareness. Learn more.
8 week program. Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.