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Safety and Seizures

After witnessing a child's first seizure, parents commonly want to know how to keep their child from harm. It is important to remember that children with seizures have special safety concerns but they also need to be given room to grow. When deciding what is safe for your child, try asking:

  1. What would happen if my child were to have a seizure during this activity?
  2. Are there ways that this activity could be safer for my child?

General Safety Tips

Reinforce the safety rules that are important for all children—with and without seizures:

  • Wear a well-fitted sports helmet for biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, skiing
  • Always buckle up seat belts in car, stroller, highchair, wheelchair

The buddy system

  • Do not allow your child to walk in the woods alone
  • If your child is old enough to stay home alone or baby-sit, have your child ask a friend or family member of the same age or older to be with him or her
  • Do not allow your child to swim alone; make sure that an adult who is able to swim is present in the water with your child

In the bathroom

  • If you put your child in the bathtub, never leave him or her alone
  • For older children who prefer a shower, make sure the bathroom door is unlocked (if your child should have a seizure while in the shower, it is important that you are able to get in to the bathroom)
  • Consider a shower seat and hand-held spray nozzle
  • Be sure that the drain is functioning properly
  • Place extra padding under rugs

Cooking

  • Encourage microwave cooking, since it is the safest cooking method
  • When using the stove, turn pot handles in and use the back burners
  • When using the oven, use extra-long oven mitts
  • Use plastic dishes and cups when possible
  • Use rubber gloves when handling sharp kitchen tools

Sleepovers

  • Review the symptoms of your child’s seizures and the seizure plan with the adult in the home
  • Be sure to pack the medication and stick to the medication schedule
  • Do not allow your child to sleep in the top bunk or too close to a fireplace or heater
  • Speak with your child’s doctor about sports and outdoor recreation

MedicAlert

  • Consider a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace
  • MedicAlert is a national database system that records your child’s critical medical and emergency contact information and makes this information accessible to emergency medical staff

Helmets and gait belts

For children who have frequent seizures that cause them to fall to the ground, helmets are recommended.

  • There are many different types of helmets; your child’s physician can prescribe the appropriate helmet for your child
  • Consider having your child wear a gait belt around his or her waist
  • If the child begins to fall, a supervising adult can help support him/her more easily by grabbing firmly onto the belt
  • A variety of gait belts are available through medical supply companies
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