What Do I Do If My Newborn Has A Seizure
What to Do if Your Child Has a Seizure:
Symptoms In The Brain
Even though theyâre tiny, thereÃ¢s a lot of electrical activity going in your babyÃ¢s brain. If itÃ¢s abnormal, they might have seizures. Your babyÃ¢s doctor may use electroencephalographyâ EEG for short â to measure their brain activity while theyâre awake and asleep. TheyÃ¢ll put sticky tabs called electrodes on their head, and a machine will record the data they pick up. Babies with infantile spasms often have an abnormal pattern of electrical activity in their brains. Itâs called hypsarrhythmia.
The doctor might also want to do scans of their brain. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans create pictures that will let them see if there are any parts of it that havenÃ¢t formed the right way. These pictures can also show lesions, or places where injury or infection may have damaged their brain.
Signs Of Seizures In Babies
- Your baby may roll their eyes, and their limbs may either stiffen or twitch and jerk. Up to 4 out of every 100 children aged 6 months to 5 years have one of these seizures, which are triggered by high fevers, usually above 102°.
- Infantile spasms. This rare type of seizure occurs during an infant’s first year . Your baby may bend forward or arch their back as their arms and legs stiffen. These spasms tend to occur when a child is waking up or going to sleep, or after a feeding. Infants can have hundreds of these seizures a day.
- Focal seizures. Your baby may sweat, vomit, become pale, and experience spasms or rigidity in one muscle group, such as fingers, arms, or legs. You may also observe gagging, lip smacking, screaming, crying, and loss of consciousness.
- Absence seizures. Your baby appears to be staring into space or daydreaming. They may blink rapidly or appear to be chewing. These episodes typically last less than 30 seconds and may occur several times a day.
- Atonic seizures. Your baby experiences a sudden loss of muscle tone that makes them go limp and unresponsive. Their head may drop suddenly, or if they are crawling or walking, they might fall to the floor.
- Tonic seizures. Parts of your baby’s body or their entire body suddenly stiffen.
- Myoclonic seizures. A group of muscles, usually in the baby’s neck, shoulders, or upper arms, starts to jerk. These seizures usually occur in clusters, several times a day and several days in a row.
You May Like: When Should I Start Sleep Training My Newborn
How Are Seizures Treated In A Child
The goal of treatment is to control, stop, or reduce how often seizuresoccur. Treatment is most often done with medicine. Many types ofmedicines used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Your childs healthcareprovider will need to identify the type of seizure your child ishaving. Medicines are selected based on the type of seizure, age of thechild, side effects, cost, and ease of use. Medicines used at home areusually taken by mouth as capsules, tablets, sprinkles, or syrup. Somemedicines can be given into the rectum or in the nose. If your child isin the hospital with seizures, medicine may be given by injection orintravenously by vein .
It is important to give your child medicine on time and as prescribed.The dose may need to be adjusted for the best seizure control. Allmedicines can have side effects. Talk with your childs healthcareprovider about possible side effects. If your child has side effects,talk to the healthcare provider. Do not stop giving medicine to yourchild. This can cause more or worse seizures.
While your child is taking medicine, he or she may need tests to seehow well the medicine is working. You may have:
Your child may not need medicine for life. Some children are taken offmedicine if they have had no seizures for 1 to 2 years. This will bedetermined by your child’s healthcare provider.
What Is The Prognosis For Infantile Spasms
The prognosis for infantile spasms depends on several factors, including:
- The cause of infantile spasms.
- If the cause can be treated.
- How soon your child was diagnosed and treated.
- If your baby was reaching developmental milestones before the spasms started.
Up to 50% of children with infantile spasms have long-term developmental and neurological issues. Even if the spasms stop, many children develop other kinds of seizures and epilepsy.
If diagnosis and treatment are prompt and effective, the overall outlook is better. Normal development is possible for children who were reaching developmental milestones before their spasms started.
Don’t Miss: Should Newborns Sleep On Their Back
What Causes Infantile Spasms
There are several causes of infantile spasms. Scientists have listed over 200 different health conditions as possible causes of infantile spasms. But in about one-third of cases, healthcare providers cant determine the cause.
An infantile spasm may happen due to an abnormality in a small portion of your childs brain or may be due to a more generalized brain issue.
Possible causes of infantile spasms include:
- Brain injuries or infections: Almost any type of brain injury can cause infantile spasms. The most common causes include hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy , meningitis and perinatal stroke .
- Issues with brain development: Several central nervous system malformations that occur while your baby is developing in the womb can cause infantile spasms. These can include focal cortical dysplasia, lissencephaly, holoprosencephaly and Aicardi syndrome. Abnormal blood vessels in your babys brain can also cause infantile spasms.
- Gene mutations: Scientists are linking more and more gene mutations to infantile spasms. Some of these include trisomy 21 , tuberous sclerosis, Miller-Dieker syndrome and CDKL5 deficiency disorder.
- Metabolic conditions: Inborn errors of metabolism can cause infantile spasms. Theyre genetic conditions that block metabolic pathways involved in the breakdown of nutrients you eat and the generation of energy. In rare cases, vitamin B6 deficiency also causes infantile spasms.
What Do Newborn Seizures Look Like
What Do Newborn Seizures Look Like. Posture remains intact, but the eyes may blink or twitch, and the. A seizure is caused by sudden, abnormal and excessive electrical activity in the brain.
About half of newborn seizures are subtle seizures, which can be hard to see. It may look like the person is being shocked or poked. These seizures cause short, jerky movements.
A new child is a bundle of anticipation and expectations. Random or roving eye movements, eyelid.
Your baby may sweat, vomit, become pale, and experience spasms or rigidity in one muscle group, such as fingers, arms, or legs. A seizure can look like lots of different things in a child.
The seizures are caused by changes in the. Any illness that the child may have, including seizures, seems terrible to the parents and family.
The seizures are caused by changes in the. About half of newborn seizures are subtle seizures, which can be hard to see.
These types of seizures are most common in the newborn period. An mri of the head to look for structural abnormalities in the.
An eeg to look for abnormal activity in the brain. A seizure is caused by sudden, abnormal and excessive electrical activity in the brain.
These seizures cause short, jerky movements. Any illness that the child may have, including seizures, seems terrible to the parents and family.
Recommended Reading: Can You Sleep While Your Newborn Sleeps
How Do I Know If It’s Infantile Spasms Or A Startle Reflex
While infantile spasms can look similar to a normal startle reflex in babies, there are ways to help tell the difference:
- Frequency: Loud noises, bright light or sudden movement can trigger a baby to startle. But unlike that single startle reflex, infantile spasms typically happen back-to-back, or in clusters. Each spasm may last only a second or two, but a cluster can last several minutes.
- Timing of spasms: Infantile spasms often occur when the baby is waking up from sleep, and they will often cry after the spasm.
- Baby’s age: The startle reflex is most noticeable in newborns and slowly disappears by 4 to 6 months of age at the latest. Infantile spasms often occur between the ages of 3 to 12 months of age, when the startle reflex has already started to go way.
- Baby’s development: The other telltale sign of infantile spasms is a decline in development. For example, you may notice your baby is not doing the same things they used to be able to do or see changes in how your child interacts with you, such as less eye contact or smiling.
Safety Precautions For Children Who Have Seizures
The biggest risk to children who have seizures is where they occur. If a child is walking down the stairs or is in the bathroom and has a seizure, the child risks falling and hurting themselves.
Most importantly, especially here in Texas in the summertime, if a child is in the water and has a seizure, they can fall under the water and drown. We tell parents to be very careful about watching kids anywhere around water, including lakes, pools, the bathtub or shower.
Take these seizure precautions to ensure your child remains safe.
- Avoid tub baths showers are safer than baths
- Make sure the bathroom door is not locked
- No swimming without constant adult supervision
- Wear a life jacket at all times when boating or on a jet ski
- No climbing higher than 10 feet including ladders, trees and bunk beds
- Wear a helmet at all times when bike riding and horseback riding
- For children with frequent seizures, avoid bike riding on streets
- No cooking over an open stove or using an iron
- Teenagers with uncontrolled seizures shouldnt drive, including ATVs, mini-motor cycles, 4-wheelers
- Do not allow the handling of firearms
As a parent, it will be helpful to develop a plan and to share your plan with others to help keep your child safe during a seizure. Talk to your childs school or anyone who may be in contact with your child about seizure first aid and safety.
Don’t Miss: Is It Normal For Newborns To Sleep A Lot
What Should I Do If My Child Has A Seizure
If your child has a seizure, you should stay calm and:
- gently protect their body and head
- if theyre in water, keep their face out of the water and call for an ambulance
- time the seizure
- dont put anything in their mouth
- after any convulsion ends, roll them on their side
- lay them on their side if there is fluid in their mouth
- make sure they are breathing normally afterwards
You should call an ambulance if:
- your childs seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or they have more than one seizure
- they are still unconscious or have trouble breathing after the seizure
- quicky have another seizure, or they have multiple seizures
- they had a seizure with food or liquid in their mouth
- theyre unconscious or not breathing normally
- its their first seizure
- the seizure happened in the bath or a pool
- theyre unconscious for more than 5 minutes afterwards, or not breathing normally
- your child also has an injury
- your child has diabetes
- you are going to give them medication to stop the seizure
- youre unsure whether they need help
How Are Seizures Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and healthhistory. Youll be asked about other factors that may have caused yourchilds seizure, such as:
Recent fever or infection
Your child may also have:
A neurological exam
Blood tests to check for problems in blood sugar and other factors
Electroencephalogram , to test the electrical activity in your childs brain
Lumbar puncture , to measure the pressure in the brain and spinal canal and test the cerebral spinal fluid for infection or other problems
Also Check: How To Calm A Newborn To Sleep
At What Age Do Infantile Spasms Start
Healthcare providers diagnose infantile spasms in babies younger than 12 months of age in 90% of cases. The average age of diagnosis is between four and seven months of age.
When children whore older than 12 months have spells resembling infantile spasms, theyre typically classified as epileptic spasms.
Effects Of Seizures On Newborns
Neonatal seizures can be subtle and difficult to recognize clinically, so timely EEG and laboratory testing are essential in confirming the diagnosis. Cranial imaging, such as CT or MRI are also often recommended. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, early treatment of the seizures, as well as the underlying cause, is required.
The prognosis for infants with seizures will depend on the cause and the timeliness of diagnosis and treatment. It is essential that early investigation and treatment is undertaken by the appropriate medical specialists.
You May Like: How Many Hours Do Newborns Sleep Per Day
Learn What To Do If A Child Has A Seizure With These Steps For Seizure First Aid
Approximately 4-5% of all children will experience a seizure at some point during their childhood. About 1% of children are diagnosed with epilepsy, and 1 in 26 people develop this neurological condition during their lifetime.
Given these statistics, itâs vital for everyone to know what steps to take if they see a person having a seizure.
Seizures are common, and while a seizure may never happen to you or to a member of your family, itâs good for everybody to know what to do in case of a seizure.
Also Check: How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Newborn
Symptoms Of Subtle Seizures
Subtle seizures are more common among full-term babies. Symptoms of subtle seizures include:
- Random or roving eye movements, eyelid blinking or fluttering, eyes rolling up, eye opening, staring
- Sucking, smacking, chewing and protruding tongue
- Unusual bicycling or pedalling movements of the legs
- Thrashing or struggling movements
- Long pauses in breathing
Recommended Reading: How Do I Get Medicaid For My Newborn
What Are Emotional Seizures
At the commencement of a focal emotional seizure, there are changes in mood or emotion, or the appearance of altered emotions without the actual feeling. These emotional seizures can occur with or without objective clinical indicators of a seizure that the observer can see. Emotional seizures can also be called “pseudo-seizures,” because they appear to be seizures but lack the typical features of true epilepsy.
Emotional seizures can be either positive or negative in nature. Positive emotional seizures include euphoria, elation, and excitement. Negative emotional seizures include despair, depression, and loneliness. The term “emotional seizure” also describes any sudden onset of feelings such as joy, anger, fear, or sadness that can arise without warning or apparent cause. These episodes often last only a few seconds but can be intense enough to alter one’s behavior for hours or days afterwards.
People who experience emotional seizures may or may not be aware of their surroundings or themselves during these episodes. They may act aggressively, erratically, or even sexually toward others without apparent reason. Sometimes these people with emotional seizures are able to describe what happened during their attack while at other times they cannot recall anything about it when asked. In some cases, people who have emotional seizures report having premonitions of them happening.
What Are The Symptoms Of Infantile Spasms
Infantile spasms often look like a sudden, brief stiffening of a babys muscles. Symptoms may include:
- a cluster of spasms that may be associated with waking from sleep
- jackknife seizures, where the body bends forward, the knees are pulled up, and the arms are thrown out to the side
- a stiffening of the body and legs, with the head thrown back
In some cases, the symptoms are subtle, such as a mild head nod or quick eye movements.
Read Also: How Many Oz Milk For Newborn Baby
Diagnosis Of Neonatal Seizure Disorders
Usually cranial imaging
Evaluation begins with a detailed family history and a physical examination.
Jitteriness must be distinguished from true seizure activity. Jitteriness is usually stimulus-induced and can be stopped by holding the extremity still in contrast, seizures occur spontaneously, and motor activity is felt even when the extremity is held still.
Our Areas Of Innovation For Seizures
Physicians and researchers at Boston Childrens Hospital are constantly looking for safer, more effective treatments to help children live seizure-free. We typically have several clinical trials going on at any time. Our doctors are:
- searching for and testing new anti-seizure drugs
- developing better methods for diagnosing and treating seizures
- looking for ways to prevent other conditions from triggering seizures
- evaluating new imaging techniques that help surgeons avoid damaging functional brain tissue
Also Check: How To Prevent Diaper Rash In Newborns
Signs Of A Febrile Seizure
A febrile seizure usually lasts for less than 5 minutes. Your child will:
- become stiff and their arms and legs may begin to twitch
- lose consciousness and may wet or soil themselves
They may also be sick and foam at the mouth, and their eyes may roll back.
After the seizure, your child may be sleepy for up to an hour. A straightforward febrile seizure like this will only happen once during your child’s illness.
Occasionally, febrile seizures can last longer than 15 minutes and symptoms may only affect one area of your child’s body.
These are known as complex febrile seizures. These seizures sometimes happen again within 24 hours or during the period in which your child is ill.
What Should I Tell My Doctor If I Think My Baby Had A Seizure
If you think your infant experienced a seizure, you will need to tell your doctor all of the information related to the specific episode including the length of the seizure and the symptoms you witnessed . It is important to explain that the symptoms were unusual or not part of your babys normal behaviour. In addition to that, you will want to let your doctor know if your infant has had any other behaviours like difficulty eating or breathing, lethargic movement, and/or unusual muscle spasms.
Also Check: What Position Should A Newborn Sleep