Between May 2018 and May 2019, over 160,000 children between the age of 5 and 17 attended A&E in Wales. Learning a First Aid skill allows you to support a child until professional help arrives. We can get professional help by calling 999 or 112. You can text 999 if you have pre-registered your number. However, the ambulance service is not the only option and should only be called in life-threatening emergencies. In non-life threatening emergencies, you can contact your doctor, call NHS direct or visit the appropriate walk-in clinic, for example, walk-in physio. You will need to find out what is available in your area. In our third article of the series, we take look at seizures, also known as epilepsy.
There are different types of seizure, but all affect the electrical activity taking place in the brain. A seizure can be a one-off or a doctor may diagnose epilepsy if they have had more than one or expected to have more. We look at one type, tonic-clonic, which most people recognise from the severe jerking of the body.
A young child may have a seizure linked to infection causing a high temperature and affecting the electrical activity in the brain. As the brain is young it does not know how to cope. However, this is just one cause in children. The signs are:
Loss of responsiveness
- Falling to floor
- Body muscles all stiff
- Arched back
- Clenched fits
- Jerking of the body
- Grey-blue around lips
- Loss of bladder control
Action for child
- Protect the child from injury, including the head, by placing padding under it.
- If the child is very hot, cool them or the environment.
- After the seizure, if still unconscious, place in the recovery position.
- Provide reassurance and protect their dignity, especially if they have lost bladder control.
- Allow them to rest when they recover.
Call an ambulance, if:
- First seizure
- Continues for more than 5 minutes
- They have multiple seizures in a row
- Restrain movement or hold them down
- Place anything in the mouth
- Move them, unless they are in danger
If you would like to learn more, attend one of our first aid courses covering children and infants, for example, Level 3 Paediatric First Aid.