As a new parent, watching your infant suffer with a seizure can not only be devastating, but leave you feeling helpless and inadequate as a parent. The first time you see your infant having a seizure is usually the worst and it is not until you understand what is happening and what to do that you will feel more comfortable handling the situation.
Infant seizures are not uncommon and usually the Infant will be fine afterwards. Seizures will only last a few minutes and eventually will stop without any intervention. These seizures or convulsions are the result of abnormal brain nerve cell activity that causes unconsciousness, rigidity in the arms and legs, and twitching of the face or limbs. Most infant seizures are related to fevers, however, recurrent seizures with no fever may indicate a seizure disorder and should be diagnosed by a doctor or pediatrician.
Febrile seizures have a short duration of five minutes or less, are triggered by a high fever and usually indicate an underlying illness. They can be sudden, but after the first episode do not usually reoccur. What's important here is to find out what the underlying illness is that is creating the high fever. Many times, the seizure is the first indication that your infant has some kind of illness.
Although the seizure will only last a few minutes, there are steps that should be taken. First, remove any objects in the immediate area so if the child starts flinging around no injuries will occur. You will want to bring the fever down and the best way to do this is by removing the infant's clothes and applying cool cloths to the Infant's head and chest. Always use cool water, do not use rubbing alcohol. Placing your Infant into a cool bath during a seizure is not recommended and can be very dangerous.
In the event your infant starts vomiting, turn him to his side or lay him down on his stomach. Try to remove any vomit so as not to block his breathing and prevent choking or aspiration. If the Infant starts to have labored breathing gently pull his mouth open from the back sides of the jaw bone using two of your fingers.
Once the seizure is over and your child is awake, notify your doctor or pediatrician right away or take the infant to the emergency room of nearest hospital or clinic for a full examination. As previously mentioned, an underlying illness is usually present and this needs to be treated.
Seizures With No Fever
These types of seizures should be treated the same as Febrile Seizures except for the fact there is no fever, so cooling down the Infant is not necessary. Keep the infant comfortable, away from any objects and do not try to restrain the Infant in any way. Sometimes during a seizure, the infant will stop breathing momentarily. Do not be alarmed or try CPR, the child will start breathing again on their own without any intervention on your part.
Many parents fear that their infant will choke on their tongue or bite it off. There is no way that the Infant will swallow their own tongue and rarely does the child do severe damage to their tongue or bite it off. These fears are unfounded and you should never stick your fingers or any other object into your Infant's mouth during a seizure.
As with febrile seizures, once the seizure has ended and your Infant is conscious and awake, seek medical attention for a full examination, diagnosis and treatment.
Although frightening, seizures are common place and rarely result in brain damage of any kind. If your infant has a seizure, remain calm, follow these simple steps and then follow up with a medical professional for treatment.