The American Academy of Pediatrics defines a seizure as a sudden, temporary changes in physical movement, caused by abnormal electrical impulses in the brain. While seizures can be common in children, The American Academy of Pediatrics states that most seizures are not medical emergencies, however a child who has had a seizure should be seen by a physician.
If a child has a seizure, nannies should call 911 and focus their attention on protecting the child from injuring himself during the seizure. The American Red Cross advises not to hold or restrain a child having a seizure and to not put anything in his mouth. If a child is having a seizure, lay him on his side with his hips higher than his head, or place him in a semi-sitting position, so that he will not choke if he vomits, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. Be sure he is away from any hard or sharp objects. Monitor the child carefully, taking note of what parts of the body are convulsing, if any, and how long the seizure lasted.
Seizures in children can have wide range of causes and when a child has a seizure, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a child’s brain is being damaged, though this can happen. Seizures may be easily recognized due to the body’s jerking, twitching or stiffness, but some seizures may not have any obvious outward signs. Seizures may involve staring, shaking of the entire body, shaking of a part of the body, blinking or falling. Seizures may or may not result in the loss of conscious.
Febrile seizures are fairly common in children. They are caused by fever. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, febrile seizures occur in 3 or 4 out of every 100 children between six months and five years of age, and occur most often around the ages of twelve to eighteen months. While febrile seizures are scary, they are harmless to the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling 911 if a febrile seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes. Anytime a child has a febrile seizure his doctor should be contacted.
The American Academy of Pediatrics uses the term epilepsy to describe seizures that occur repeatedly over time without an acute illness (like fever) or an acute brain injury. Children with epilepsy may be put on medication to minimize their seizures.
If a child in your care experiences seizures, be sure to discuss his seizure treatment and action plans with the parents and be sure to follow them should the child have a seizure while in your care.