Recurrent Seizure (Child)  

Image showing parts of the brain, including the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brainstem.

Your child has had another seizure today. A common cause of seizures that keep happening (recurrent seizures) is missing doses of seizure medicine. But sometimes seizures are hard to control even when your child takes the medicine correctly. If this is the case for your child, your healthcare provider may need to increase your child's dosage. Or your child may need to add another medicine, or change to a different medicine.

Home care

Follow these tips when caring for your child at home. For this seizure:

  • Seizures often aren’t predictable. Assume that a seizure could happen when you least expect it. Until the seizures are under good control, be careful to:

    • Not leave your child alone in a bathtub. If your child is old enough, use a shower instead.

    • Not let your child swim, bike, or climb alone.

    • Keep your child away from situations in which a seizure could cause serious injury. These include being at the top of the stairs, or handling sharp objects.

  • If medicine was prescribed to prevent seizures, give it exactly as directed. It does not work when taken "as needed." Missing doses will increase the risk of having another seizure.

  • If your child misses a medicine dose, give your child the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Restart the medicine at the next scheduled time. Don’t give your child extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

  • You may need to change things in your home to make it safer in case of a seizure. Things such as glass doors or tables could pose risk of serious injury. Look at ways to have your child stay away from these things.

For future seizures:

  • If a seizure occurs again, turn your child onto his or her side. This will let any saliva or vomit drain out of the mouth and not into the lungs. Protect your child from injury. Don’t try to force anything into your child’s mouth.

  • Almost all seizures stop within 5 minutes. If your child is having a seizure that lasts longer than that, call 911. Also call 911 if your child doesn't wake up between seizures, or is still confused more than 30 minutes after a seizure.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Keep a seizure calendar to record how often your child has a seizure. If your child is a teen being started on anti-seizure medicine and is old enough to get pregnant, make sure that she uses additional birth control. Seizure medicine can affect how well birth control pills work, and she could become pregnant. Your child should also not have alcohol.

When to get medical advice

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Seizures happen more often or last longer than normal

  • A seizure lasts more than 5 minutes

  • Your child doesn’t wake up between seizures

  • Fever (see Fever and children, below)

  • Unusual fussiness, drowsiness, or confusion

  • Stiff or painful neck

  • Headache that gets worse

  • New rash

  • Your child is injured during a seizure

Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Baby under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider.

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider.

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead (temporal artery), or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider.

  • Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider.

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider.

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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