Questions parents & carers often ask

What is the best way to record my child's seizures?

23 February 2009
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Keep a diary of all witnessed and suspected episodes. Describe what happened in as much detail as possible. Divide your account into before during and after .

Before (for the previous hours or day):

  • What was the child doing just prior?(playing, sleeping, awake, watching TV etc), record any behavioural or mood changes that were notable prior to the seizure, had the child been unwell prior to this infections, fever, tiredness, on medication
  • Were they stressed or excited or "out of sorts" in some way?
  • Had their pattern of sleep or meals been disrupted lately?
  • Other factors to consider - recent travel, any changes and disruptions to routine

During:

  • Did the episode begin promptly or develop more gradually?
  • Did their behaviour indicate getting a warning? (eg. seeking comfort from parent)
  • Was consciousness lost or otherwise affected ? (confusion/ disorientation)
  • What happened to the child? - e.g. jerking movements of limbs, automatic behaviours such as wandering chewing, staring, blinking, eye movements, tremor, sounds.
  • Were both sides of body affected or one side?
  • Was bladder or bowel control lost?
  • Were they pale or flushed, agitated or unresponsive?
  • How long did this stage of the episode last? - try to time it as accurately as possible.

After:

  • Was the child sleepy?
  • How long did they need to sleep for?
  • Were they confused or disorientated?
  • Did they have any memory of the event?
  • Did they sustain injury?
  • Were they able to describe any part of the experience?

Video recording of seizures is a very useful method of capturing the episode. When we observe a seizure we are often emotionally affected by what we see and parents frequently recount feeling very distressed witnessing their child have a seizure. This can mean it is difficult to fully recall accurately what happened . Where seizures are likely to recur it is a good idea to have a VCR on standby ready to record the episode. Perhaps one parent can record the seizure this way whilst the other tends to the child. Rarely will the child have a seizure when they attend the clinic so having it on video gives the doctor an exact idea of what happened.

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