Advice for Parents of Children with Epilepsy

Nov 01st, 2013 | by Bryan LaScala
Bryan LaScala

Bryan LaScala

November 01st, 2013

Epliepsy is a common medical condition that affects about 1 in every 103 people. Nearly 3 million people in the U.S. are affected by epilepsy and seizures, with about 200,000 new cases diagnosed every year (

Epilepsy causes seizures and affects a variety of mental and physical functions. It is also known as a seizure disorder. When a person has 2 or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy (

The only visible symptom of epilepsy is recurring seizures, caused by too much electrical activity in groups of neurons in the brain (

Seizures can last anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes. The symptoms can be obvious like convulsions and loss of consciousness or can even be unrecognizable like blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs (

There are about 400,000 children in the U.S. who have epilepsy. Most children with epilepsy are perfectly healthy and typical in other ways and 70%-80% of them can control their condition completely with medication and lead normal lives. And most children with epilepsy will eventually outgrow the condition (

Having a child with epilepsy means that you’ll have new responsibilities. You need to make sure that your child takes medications and learns how to avoid what triggers seizures (

Here are some ways to lower your child’s risk of injury (

  • Use padded side rails and waterproof pads on cribs and beds.
  • Use seats and seat belts, and have your child wear a helmet when biking, skiing, or skating.
  • Do not let your child swim alone.
  • If you have a young child, do not leave him/her alone in the bathtub. Older children should take showers instead of baths.
  • Make sure your child gets a full night’s sleep as a lack of sleep can trigger seizures. Children should get at least 10-12 hours of sleep and teenagers should get at least 8-10 hours.
  • Tell your child’s teachers and sports coaches that your child has epilepsy, and tell them what to do if he/she has a seizure during school or practice.
  • Your child may have to take medicine during school hours. If you can, keep a supply of medicine with the school nurse and another supply at home. Setting up a schedule that lets your child take the medicine at lunch, recess, or during class breaks may make it easier for the child.
  • Have your child wear a medical I.D. bracelet. This will help doctors and other people know that your child has epilepsy and will list any medications your child is taking.
  • Certain things make seizures occur more easily and the best way to prevent seizures is to avoid triggers.
  • Taking good care of your body (or your child’s) is the best way to help avoid some of these seizure triggers.


What is epilepsy?

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