Symptoms and Signs of Seizures in Children

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/22/2021

Doctor's Notes on Seizures in Children

Seizures are caused by abnormal brain activity that leads to a change in movement, focus or attention, or level of awareness. There are different kinds of seizures in children that can occur in different parts of the brain. Conditions that can cause seizures in children include fever, infections such as meningitis or encephalitis, neurological or developmental problems, or head trauma

Effects of seizures may be localized (affecting only part of the body) or widespread (affecting the whole body). Associated symptoms and signs depend on the exact location of the brain that is involved but can include:

  • convulsions,
  • loss of awareness,
  • staring or blinking,
  • muscle spasms,
  • repetitive movements,
  • rolling eyes, and
  • rhythmic jerking.

The child may be confused after the seizure and may not remember the event.

What Is the Treatment for Seizures in Children?

Most children with a first-time seizure will not be treated with seizure medications. Children who have recurrent or multiple medications may be treated with anti-seizure drugs. It is necessary to monitor drug levels in the bloodstream through frequent blood tests, and it may be necessary to adjust the medication types, combination of drugs, or dosing over several months.

Some children may benefit from a so-called ketogenic diet, which does not cure the seizure disorder but may reduce the frequency of seizures in some children. This diet must be discussed with a physician before beginning and must be supervised by the child’s medical team.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.