Seizures – first aid

Seizures (fits or convulsions) in children can be caused by a range of conditions including fever, head injuries and epilepsy. Whatever the cause, there are some steps you can follow to care for your child during and immediately after the seizure.

Signs of a seizure

One or more of the following:

  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness (blackout)
  • trouble breathing
  • stiffness or jerking of arms and legs
  • eyes rolling back
  • head arching back

Call an ambulance on 000 as soon as a seizure starts or when instructed to in your child’s Seizure Management Plan.

Care during a seizure

If your child has a Seizure Management Plan, you should follow this in the event of another seizure.

If you have not been given a Seizure Management Plan, here are some steps to follow:

Do:

  • make the area safe by shifting your child from the edge of a bed or away from any sharp objects nearby that could hurt them
  • stay with your child
  • note the time the seizure starts and what happens to your child during the seizure, so you can tell the ambulance officers and doctors.

Do not:

  • restrain your child
  • put anything in your child’s mouth
  • give your child any food or drink.

Care immediately after a seizure

  • roll your child onto their side when the convulsion is over
  • talk to your child calmly and orientate them to their surroundings until they have fully recovered, or help arrives.

The care of a child having a seizure is taught in a First Aid course. Completing a First Aid course may help you feel more comfortable with knowing what to do if you witness another convulsion in the future.

Resource No: FS212. Developed by Emergency, Queensland Children’s Hospital. Updated: August 2019.

All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

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