13 . How to deal with seizures ?

When seizures happen, keep calm and do not panic. No matter how frightening a seizure can be and regardless of its type, it is usually not life-threatening. Brief seizures are not brain damaging. It is more the “where and when” they occur (staircase, swimming, swings, crossing roads, etc.) that can bring about serious consequences. Moreover, at night, do not use large pillows and do not leave plush toys on the bed.

What should you do in front of a convulsive seizure with loss of consciousness:

  • put your child in the recovery position (on the side). This will avoid choking on saliva or possible vomiting; 
  • put something soft under the head, or support it with your hands;
  • move away dangerous objects nearby to avoid him/her getting hurt;
  • stay with him/her until he/she begins to wake up and breathes calmly.

What should you not do in front of a convulsive seizure with loss of consciousness:

  • do not put anything in the mouth;
  • do not try to wake him/her up;
  • do not force him/her to get up;
  • do not give anything to drink during or shortly after a seizure.

Special situations

Prolonged seizure or status epilepticus, as well as clonic or tonic-clonic seizures lasting more than 5 minutes require the use of rescue treatment (see Question 10). We recommend to have a written emergency plan prepared and explained by your child’s doctor (see below). If this seizure does not stop in spite of these procedures, your child must be taken to an emergency room, if possible by a medically trained team.

If you have other children, you will need to make a plan for them if you have to go to the hospital. Choose a “parent on call” who will stay with the other children so that they can continue with their activities and avoid the trauma of hours in the hospital environment while you bring your child at the emergency room (or conversely).

Checklist of the content of the written emergency plan
(to be written by your child’s doctor)

First name, last name

Weight with the date of measurement

Current treatment (list of drugs, current doses, date of prescription).

Remind that daily antiepileptic drug treatments should be continued in the emergency settings

Known allergies

Remind what to do during a long-lasting seizure

Remind what to avoid during a long-lasting seizure

When to call the emergency service?

What are the criteria to go to the emergency room?

1. First line treatment: Name of the drug, route and dose.
2. Second line treatment: When administered after the first line, name of the drug, route of administration and dose.
3. State the treatments to avoid because of the possible worsening effect (see Question 10) or possible interaction with the daily treatment.


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