Toddlers & Seizures

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Between 3 to 5 percent of healthy children between the ages of 9 months and 5 years will experience a seizure due to fever, according to MedlinePlus. Within this age group, toddlers have the highest incidence of febrile seizures. It is important to seek medical care if your toddler has a seizure.


Seizures

Seizures are sudden, brief lapses of conscious activity. These episodes may last anywhere from a few seconds to 10 minutes. A period of confusion or drowsiness often follows a seizure. Your toddler is more likely to have a seizure if there is a family history of this disorder. Although febrile seizures don’t cause epilepsy, a child that experiences seizures due to fever may have a higher risk of developing epilepsy, according to FamilyDoctor.org.

Symptoms

The symptoms of seizure can vary. You may notice your toddler just staring into space for a few seconds, or he may experience shaking and twitching. During a seizure, he may fall from a standing or sitting position, roll his eyes back into his head, become unconscious, urinate, bite his tongue, stop breathing or vomit. He may groan or make crying noises during the episode.

Causes

Fever is the most likely cause of seizures in toddlers. Ear infections, roseola infantum, upper respiratory infections and meningitis can cause febrile seizures. Other possible causes of seizures include epilepsy, medications and brain injuries due to tumors, strokes, trauma or infection.

Actions

Observing your child experiencing a seizure can be a frightening experience. MedlinePlus recommends you leave your child on the floor during his seizure, only moving him if he is in a dangerous location. Place objects out of his reach and loosen any tight clothing. Turn him on his side or stomach if he vomits or seems to be choking. Avoid putting objects in his mouth to keep him from biting his tongue and don’t try to restrain him during his episode.

Warnings

While febrile seizures usually resolve on their own, it is important to contact your doctor to determine the cause of your toddler’s seizure. MedlinePlus advises that it is important to rule out the possibility of meningitis. Your toddler may require medical tests, including a lumbar puncture, to determine the reason for his seizure. FamilyDoctor.org recommends calling 911 if your child’s seizure lasts longer than 10 minutes or if he also vomits, has problems breathing, or has a stiff neck.

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