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Infantile Spasms

Baby and infantile spasms STOP logo

Epilepsy Ireland are proud to be part of the Infantile Spasms Network – a group of organisations across the globe committed to raising awareness of Infantile Spasms.

It is extremely important that new parents are aware of Infantile Spasms as acting quickly is crucial to preventing serious long-term impacts. Worldwide, it is estimated that a child is diagnosed with Infantile Spasms every 12 minutes.

This page has been designed with the assistance of information available from the Infantile Spasms Network and we encourage you to please the take the time to learn more and STOP Infantile Spasms.

What are Infantile Spasms?

Infantile Spasms are a rare but extremely serious type of seizure which approximately occur in 1 of every 2,000 children. If undiagnosed and untreated, Infantile spasms can cause catastrophic, permanent damage to a child’s developing brain.

How do these seizures present?

The seizures include repetitive but often subtle movements – including jerking of the mid-section, dropping of the head, raising of the arms or wide-eyed blinks. Infantile spasms can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed for other conditions, including colic, reflux, or a startle reflex

See the video below for a further insight on how these types of seizures can present.

The following video was also provided by parents to Epilepsy Ireland to help raise awareness of Infantile Spasms. 

 

When are Infantile Spasms most likely to present?

Research suggests that the onset of Infantile Spasms peak at between 4 & 6 months of age although these seizures can begin at any time in the child’s first two years.

What do I do if I suspect my child is experiencing Infantile Spasms?

If you suspect your child may be showing signs of Infantile Spasms, it is critical to remember that Infantile Spasms are a medical emergency – inform your medical team immediately.

Early diagnosis and treatment promote better health outcomes and reduce the risks of poor outcomes which can include developmental problems, autism and continued seizures.

It is crucial that you record incidences of suspected Infantile spasms on your phone to show your Healthcare Professional as this can provide them with key insights on what your child is potentially experiencing.

Remember the key word of STOP if you think your child is experiencing Infantile Spasms.

  • See the Signs
  • Take a video
  • Obtain diagnosis
  • Prioritise treatment

You can download the awareness poster for STOP at the end of this article and please do share.

Watch our video with Dr. Mary E. O'Regan from CHI Crumlin...

We sat down with Dr. Mary E. O'Regan, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist with a special interest in epilepsy to discuss some of the most common questions around Infantile Spasms. Be sure to watch the video below to hear more from an expert voice on Infantile Spasms. 

For further information on Infantile Spams, visit the Infantile Spasms Network website. You can also find further information on Infantile Spasms by visiting the website of our colleagues in the UK Infantile Spasms Trust, which has further information and resources. The UK Infantile Spasms Trust also run a private Facebook support group for parents of children who have been affected by Infantile Spasms. Their membership contains many Irish families and you can apply to join this group by visiting Facebook.