Hesperian Health Guides

What to Do When a Child has a Seizure

  • Learn to recognize any ‘warning signs’ that a seizure is about to begin, such as sudden fear or a cry. Quickly protect the child by lying her down on a soft mat or other place where she cannot hurt herself.
  • When a ‘big’ seizure starts, do not try to move the child unless she is in a dangerous place.
  • Protect the child as best you can against injury, but do not try to forcefully control her movements. Remove any sharp or hard objects near her.
  • Put nothing in the child’s mouth while she is having a seizure—no food, drink, medicine, nor any object to prevent biting the tongue.
  • Between spasms, gently turn the child’s head to one side, so that spit drains out of her mouth and she does not breathe it into her lungs.
  • After the seizure is over, the child may be very sleepy and confused. Let her sleep. For headache, which is common after a seizure, give acetaminophen (paracetamol) or aspirin.
To protect the head of a child who falls hard when she has a seizure, it may be wise for her to wear some kind of head protection most of the time.
A child with chin pad and helmet like hat
chin padding
A child who often injures his face with seizures may need a ‘hard hat’ helmet with a face mask.
a child with a hard helmet and face mask
You can make a ‘cage’ of stiff wire and wrap it with strips of inner tube, soft cloth, or sponge rubber.
A cage of wire that look like hat wrapped with cloth
Or cut a piece of old car tire something like this. Or sew strips of cloth filled with padding
A boy wearing cloth pads sewn into a hat shape
old car tire cut to give padding for head

This page was updated:21 Nov 2019