A seizure is an electrical disturbance in your child's brain that causes involuntary twitching or jerking.

What to do if your child has a seizure

If your child has a seizure, stay calm and follow these steps:

  • Turn the lights on.
  • Note the time.
  • Put your child on a soft surface. If possible, put your child on his side or back.
  • Do not stick your finger between his teeth.
  • Make sure there is no furniture or other objects near your child. This will keep him from getting hurt while thrashing.

The seizure should end within five minutes. If not:

  • Call 911.
  • If your child stops breathing, do rescue breathing.
  • If your child has no pulse, do CPR.

What to do after a seizure

After the seizure, cover your finger with a napkin or washcloth and sweep out any saliva or vomit from your child's mouth. He may appear to be in a deep sleep.

Call your health care provider for an appointment or take your child to a hospital emergency room for an exam.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. For inclusivity, this guide uses "them" and "their."
Reviewed By: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2016