When Minutes Feel Like Hours: Recognizing and Responding to Your Child’s First Seizure
Possible Signs of Seizure
(A combination of some of these signs might be present, or there might be just one.)
- Staring, kind of “zoning out”, some might resume activity as if nothing happened.
- Chewing or smacking the lips involuntarily.
- Moving the hands, arms, and legs in strange ways or in quick jerks.
- Arching the back.
- Making meaningless sounds.
- Not understanding what other people are saying.
- Have severe muscle spasms and jerking throughout the body.
- Suddenly falling down.
- Forcefully turning the head to one side.
- Clenching the teeth.
What to Do If You Witness a Seizure
- If the child is sitting or still standing, guide them to the floor so they don’t fall.
- Position them on their side (will help prevent choking).
- Remove furniture and any objects from around them so they do not injure themselves.
- Place a pillow or soft object under their head, or gently hold it to protect them from injury.
- Loosen tight clothing.
What Not to Do During a Seizure
- Do not stick anything into the mouth – they will not swallow their tongue.
- Do not try to stop or control any of their body movements.
- Do not try to shake or slap awake somebody who suddenly zones out (especially infants and toddlers!).
- Do not start CPR during a seizure – the heart does not usually stop during a seizure and a person is usually still breathing.
- Do not leave an individual alone until help arrives.
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