Caring for a child with epilepsy


An adult who lives with epilepsy understands the challenge and daily difficulty. For children, this burden is heavier as they often don’t understand and grasp the realities of the condition. 

Here are a few tips to care for your epileptic child. 

  • Explain as clearly as possible what their condition means. In the simplest terms: epileptic seizures are sudden, dramatic, “electrical storms” in the brain. These storms cause spasms, tremors, and other negative effects in the body and brain. 
  • Focus on practicality. If he’s going on a play date, equip him with his medication and teach him how to use it. 
  • Be positive about the condition and try not to engage in negativity or feeling down about it. Your child will pick up on these emotions and that’s not what you want. 
  • Help him accept being a “different normal” and accept that there will be some risk involved in activities.
  • Be aware of the potential side effects of the medications and what to do about them.
  • Ask the doctor what to do if your child is ill or has a fever. (Fever sometimes brings on seizures.)
  • Make sure your child's school knows that he or she takes epilepsy medication, and that arrangements are made for him or her to take it at school (if necessary).
  • Always carry a detailed list of your child's medications.
  • Children can often be taught at a young age what to do if someone has a seizure. Many children learn what to do from watching other people. As their parent, you are the best person to decide when it is the right time to explain your epilepsy and seizures to your child.
  • Some people wear medical jewellery or carry an "I have epilepsy" ID card saying what to do if they have a seizure. Even if children are too young to manage seizures, they may be able to tell other people that you have a card or medical jewellery.

Need to know
During a seizure, your child should know that he needs to stay with you so they don’t get lost, get help from an adult if you are not around or help themselves, if they know what to do. It is worth teaching your child how take care of themselves in an epileptic emergency. 
If your child has a seizure, here's what to do:
Gently place your child on the floor and remove any nearby objects.
Loosen clothing around his or her head or neck.
Don't try to prevent the shaking.
Don't put anything in your child's mouth.
Roll your child onto his side. If he vomits, keep him on his side and clear his mouth out with your finger.
Don't give your child anything to drink until he is fully alert.
Call the doctor immediately.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
31% - 9560 votes
69% - 21586 votes