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 on the lights.
  • Move your child to a soft surface. Roll your child to their side so any saliva or vomit can drain from their mouth.
    • Do not hold your child. They will thrash around. Make sure there are no objects around your child that could injure them.
    • Do not put anything in your child's mouth.
  • Check a clock to time the seizure.
  • Watch for arm, leg or eye movements. Check your child's breathing.
  • When the seizure is done, sweep away any saliva or vomit with a napkin or washcloth. Your child may appear to be drowsy after the seizure.
  • Call your health care provider.
  • Call 911 if your child has trouble breathing, or if the seizure lasts more than five minutes.

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.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5, sixth edition, ped-ah-91554
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 11/16/2022