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Level of Consciousness in Children


Level of consciousness is a measure of a child's ability to interact with other people and react to his or her surroundings. A decreased level of consciousness may indicate a serious health problem.

Symptoms of a decreased level of consciousness in a young child include:

  • Extreme irritability for more than 3 hours. The child cannot be calmed by holding, rocking, or feeding.
  • Extreme sleepiness and difficulty waking up.
  • Limpness and poor, weak muscle tone. A child older than 3 months of age may not move for an extended period of time or may not show any desire to move.
  • Weak or feeble cry.
  • Lack of response to touch or voice.
  • Inability to suck for two or more feedings in a row.
  • Vacant or blank stare. Children older than 3 months of age may not make eye contact or may show other signs of confusion or disorientation.
  • Unequal movement, strength, and activity of the arms or legs.
ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedJuly 1, 2010

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