What to know about seizures in children

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A seizure can be scary to witness, especially when it happens to a child. You should seek medical attention if this happens, but it’s good to know that most seizures are, in fact, not medical emergencies.

Dr. Ryan Redman, ER director at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to share what adults should know about seizures in children.

What happens during a seizure?

Sudden, temporary changes in physical movement, which are caused by abnormal electrical impulses in the brain.

Some children may experience violent convulsions, or a stiffening of the body; others may completely relax.

What are the causes?

Most are febrile seizures, which is a seizure that happens during fever. These most often affect kids under 6 years of age and don’t usually indicate any serious illness. Children usually out grow these type seizures.

In rare cases seizures can be an indicator of epilepsy.

What should someone do if a child is a having a seizure?

  • Make sure child is in a safe place
  • Lay child on side to prevent choking
  • Watch for signs of difficulty breathing

When should medical attention be immediately sought?

  • Seizure lasts more than 5 minutes
  • Seizure involving only certain parts of the body instead of the whole body
  • Your child is having trouble breathing or is changing color
  • Your child looks sluggish and is not responding normally
  • Your child doesn’t go back to normal behavior for an hour or more after the seizure
  • Your child looks dehydrated
  • Another seizure happens within 24 hours

MORE | Caring For Our Kids web page

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