What Can Cause a Seizure in a Child?

11 Jan 2022
Get insights on what can cause a seizure in a child, from common triggers to effective treatment options and preventive measures.

Understanding Seizures in Children

When it comes to a child's health, the sudden onset of a seizure can be deeply unsettling for parents. A fundamental understanding of what a seizure is and the various types that exist can help parents navigate this situation with more confidence.

Definition and Basic Concepts

A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in behavior, movements, feelings, and levels of consciousness. High fever can cause seizures in young children, a condition known as febrile seizures. Febrile seizures are most common in children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.

Seizures in children can be caused by various factors, such as a high fever, high or low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdrawal, or a brain concussion. In other instances, an imbalance of nerve-signaling brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), brain tumor, stroke, or brain damage from illness or injury can trigger a seizure. When a child experiences 2 or more seizures with no known cause, this is diagnosed as epilepsy.

Types of Seizures

Seizures are classified into two main categories based on which part of the brain is affected and what happens during the seizure. These categories, defined by Johns Hopkins Medicine, are:

  1. Focal (partial) seizures: These seizures occur when seizure activity is limited to a part of one brain hemisphere. There are two types of focal seizures:
  2. Focal Aware Seizures: In this type, the child is aware of their surroundings during the seizure.
  3. Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures: In this variety, the child loses consciousness or awareness during the seizure.
  4. Generalized Seizures: These seizures involve both sides of the brain from the start of the seizure. They can cause loss of consciousness, falls, or massive muscle spasms. Some of the common types of generalized seizures include:
  5. Absence seizures: These are brief seizures that involve staring spells.
  6. Tonic-clonic seizures: Also known as grand mal seizures, they involve a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.

Understanding the type of seizure a child is experiencing can aid in determining the best course of treatment and managing the child's condition more effectively.

Common Causes of Seizures

Understanding what can cause a seizure in a child is crucial for parents. Seizures can result from a variety of factors, including genetic predispositions, infections, head trauma, and exposure to toxic substances.

Genetic Factors and Seizures

Genetics may play a significant role in children experiencing seizures. In some cases, children may have inherited a tendency to have seizures Mayo Clinic. Developmental conditions such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and autism spectrum disorders can also contribute to the risk of seizures in children UpToDate.

Infections and Seizures

Infections in the brain can lead to seizures in children. Conditions such as meningitis and encephalitis, which are infections of the brain, can trigger seizures Mayo Clinic. High body temperatures or fevers can also trigger seizures in children, even without any signs of infection. It is crucial for parents to monitor their child’s temperature, especially during illnesses, to help prevent febrile seizures Epilepsy Foundation.

Head Trauma and Seizures

Brain injuries, such as those resulting from head trauma, can increase the risk of seizures in children. Seizures can develop immediately after the injury, or they may occur years later Mayo Clinic.

Exposure to Toxic Substances

Exposure to toxic substances, such as lead and carbon monoxide, can cause seizures in children Mayo Clinic. Certain medications can lower the seizure threshold in children, making them more prone to seizures, and should be avoided if they have epilepsy Ochsner Health. Additionally, certain foods, drinks, and chemicals can act as triggers for seizures in children, such as artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers Epilepsy Foundation.

Parents should always consult with health professionals for appropriate guidance and management of seizures in their children. By identifying potential causes and triggers, parents can make informed decisions and take proactive steps to manage their child's seizures.

Triggers for Seizures in Children

Identifying triggers for seizures in children is an essential step in managing and preventing the occurrence of seizure episodes. Triggers can vary greatly among individuals, and understanding these can help in creating an effective seizure action plan. This section will discuss environmental, behavioral, psychological, and dietary triggers.

Environmental Triggers

Environmental factors can play a significant role in triggering seizures in children. These triggers are often sensory stimuli that can provoke a seizure in susceptible individuals. Examples include flashing lights, exposure to specific visual patterns such as stripes or checkerboard patterns, and even hot weather.

Furthermore, certain reflex epilepsies in children can be activated by activities like watching television, drawing, or playing video games [3]. Other situations like excessive screen time or watching movies with intense visual effects can also trigger seizures.

High body temperatures or fevers can be a trigger for seizures in children, even without any signs of infection. This is often seen in febrile seizures, which are common in young children.

Behavioral and Psychological Triggers

Behavioral and psychological factors can also contribute to triggering seizures in children. Common triggers include stress, excitement, anxiety, and sensory overload [4].

Lack of sleep and sleep deprivation is another common trigger for seizures in children. Ensuring that children have regular sleep patterns and adequate sleep can help in managing and reducing the risk of seizures.

Dietary Triggers

Dietary factors can also play a role in triggering seizures in children. Certain foods, drinks, and chemicals, such as artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers, can act as triggers for seizures [4].

In addition, certain conditions like hypoglycemia, whereby low blood sugar levels can occur due to prolonged periods without eating, can also trigger seizures in children [3].

Understanding and identifying these triggers can be crucial in managing seizures in children. It is advised to maintain a seizure diary to track and recognize patterns with the occurrence of seizures. This can help in adjusting lifestyle and dietary choices to reduce the risk of future seizures. Always consult with a healthcare professional for a personalized plan in managing and preventing seizures in children.

Seizures and Epilepsy

Childhood seizures can be a symptom of various conditions, including epilepsy, a common disorder of the nervous system that can affect children of all races and ethnic backgrounds [2].

Understanding Epilepsy in Children

Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures that occur without a known cause. If a child experiences two or more seizures without a clear trigger, such as a high fever, high or low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdrawal, or a brain concussion, they may be diagnosed with epilepsy.

There are different types of seizures associated with epilepsy, including focal (partial) seizures, which occur in one or more areas of one side of the brain, and generalized seizures, which involve both sides of the brain [2].

Epilepsy Treatment Options

Treatment for epilepsy aims to control, stop, or reduce the frequency of seizures. Medication is the most common form of treatment, with various types available depending on the child's age, the type of seizure, potential side effects, cost, and ease of use. Medications can come in different forms, such as capsules, tablets, sprinkles, or syrups, and can be taken orally or administered rectally or through the nose.

Other treatment options include the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that can help control seizures in some children, and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), where a device is implanted under the skin to send electrical signals to the brain via the vagus nerve. In severe cases where seizures are localized to one area of the brain and are not controlled by medication, surgery may be considered [2].

Prevention and Management of Seizures

Understanding what can cause a seizure in a child is the first step towards effective prevention and management of seizures. In this section, we will discuss strategies for identifying and avoiding seizure triggers, as well as the importance of having a seizure action plan.

Identifying and Avoiding Triggers

Various factors can trigger seizures in children, including environmental, behavioral, and dietary elements. Recognizing these triggers can be a crucial part of managing a child's seizures.

Here are some common triggers that can cause seizures in children:

  • Flashing lights, bright lights, certain visual patterns, such as stripes or checkerboard patterns (epilepsy.com)
  • Lack of sleep, stress, hot weather (epilepsy.com)
  • Specific activities, such as watching television, drawing, playing video games (epilepsy.com)
  • Certain foods and drinks, especially those containing artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers (Epilepsy Foundation)
  • Psychological factors, such as anxiety, frustration, and sensory overload (Epilepsy Foundation)
  • High body temperatures or fevers, even without any signs of infection (Epilepsy Foundation)

Identifying these triggers and making efforts to avoid them can significantly help in managing a child's seizures. This might involve making changes to the child's environment, behavior, or diet.

Importance of a Seizure Action Plan

Having a seizure action plan is crucial for managing seizures in children. This plan should include detailed instructions on what to do when a seizure occurs, including the necessary steps to ensure the child's safety and when to seek medical help.

A seizure action plan can also help teachers, caregivers, and other family members understand how to respond in the event of a seizure, reducing panic and confusion. This plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure its effectiveness.

In conclusion, understanding what can cause a seizure in a child allows parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to take proactive steps in managing and preventing seizures. By identifying and avoiding triggers and creating a comprehensive seizure action plan, it's possible to help children with seizures lead a normal and healthy life.


[1]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093

[2]: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/epilepsy/seizures-and-epilepsy-in-children/

[3]: https://www.epilepsy.com/what-is-epilepsy/syndromes/reflex-epilepsies

[4]: https://epilepsyfoundation.org.au/managing-epilepsy/children-and-epilepsy/seizure-triggers-in-children/

Recent Articles

Navigating Pediatric Cardiac Care at Home

July 18, 2024

Empower your pediatric cardiac care at home with our guide. Navigate emergencies and equipment with ease.

Top Pediatric Diabetes Management Programs

July 18, 2024

Discover top pediatric diabetes management programs for comprehensive child care and smoother transitions to adulthood.

Cardiovascular Emergencies in Pediatric Patients

July 18, 2024

Master managing cardiovascular emergencies in pediatric patients with expert home cardiac care tips.

Home-Based Heart Health Programs for Children

July 18, 2024

Discover the transformative power of home-based heart health programs for children. Better care at home!

Essential Home Care for Children with Diabetes

July 18, 2024

Gain confidence in home care for children with diabetes with our empowering guide for parents.

Effective Techniques for Managing Diabetes in Children

July 18, 2024

Empower your child's future with effective techniques for managing diabetes in children.

Community Support for Children with Diabetes

July 18, 2024

Explore community support for diabetic children, the role of health clubs, and access to care essentials.

Effective Home Treatments for Childhood Diabetes

July 18, 2024

Discover effective home treatments for childhood diabetes, from nutritional support to emotional care.

The Pediatric Out-of-Hospital Chain of Survival Steps

July 18, 2024

Master pediatric out-of-hospital chain of survival steps and empower your child's cardiac care at home.

Pediatric Asthma Care Programs That Make a Difference

July 18, 2024

Discover effective pediatric asthma care programs, from diagnosis to treatment, for your child's success.

Community Support for Kids Battling Asthma

July 18, 2024

Discover community support for kids with asthma in NY—enhancing care, school programs, and resources.

Best Practices for Children's Asthma Management at Home

July 18, 2024

Master children's asthma management at home with strategies on triggers, school challenges, and emergencies.

Effective Home Treatments for Childhood Asthma

July 18, 2024

Explore effective home treatments for childhood asthma, from natural therapies to allergy control.

Expert Advice for Managing Children's Asthma With Home Care

July 18, 2024

Gain expert insights on managing asthma in children with home care. Empower your family today!

Essential Steps in Heart Condition Rehabilitation for Kids

July 18, 2024

Empower your child's heart health journey with our guide on heart condition rehabilitation for kids.

Finding Autism and Mental Health Support for Kids in New York

July 18, 2024

Empower your parenting with our guide on autism and mental health support for kids in New York.

Specialized Therapy for Autism with Health Conditions

July 18, 2024

Discover specialized therapy for autism with health conditions, transforming lives for New York families.

Home-Based Support for Fragile Children with Autism

July 18, 2024

Exploring home-based support for fragile children with autism. Empower your child's journey with tailored guidance.

Integrated Autism and Mental Health Services

July 18, 2024

Explore integrated autism and mental health services, breaking barriers for quality care access.

Comprehensive Care for Medically Fragile Children with Autism

July 18, 2024

Explore comprehensive care for medically fragile children with autism and learn to support their unique needs.

Empowering Kids with Bullying Support

July 18, 2024

Empower your kids with bullying support strategies, understand the signs, and prevent long-term effects.

Community Prevention Programs Against Bullying:

July 18, 2024

Explore effective community bullying prevention programs, their strategies, and success in combating bullying.

Supporting Recovery from Bullying at Home

July 18, 2024

Discover strategies for recovering from bullying at home, empowering victims, and creating a safe haven.

Bullying Victims At-Home Therapy Strategies

July 18, 2024

Empower bullying victims with at-home therapy strategies. Transform trauma into strength and resilience.

Managing Bullying Effects at Home

July 18, 2024

Explore strategies for managing bullying effects at home and resources for creating a safe haven.

Overcoming School Refusal in Children at Home

July 18, 2024

Explore strategies for overcoming school refusal in children at home, from therapy to morning routines.

School RefusalCommunity Resources for Support

July 18, 2024

Explore community school refusal support programs and effective strategies to help your child thrive.

How to Help a Child Overcome School Refusal

July 18, 2024

Discover how to help a child overcome school refusal with effective treatments and supportive strategies.

Overcoming School Refusal with Effective Management

July 18, 2024

Unlock strategies for managing school refusal - from home interventions to anxiety relief techniques.

School Anxiety and Refusal: Symptoms & Interventions

July 18, 2024

Discover insights on school anxiety and refusal, learn to recognize symptoms, and explore effective interventions.

Pediatric Cardiology Resources For Families in New York

July 15, 2024

Discover pediatric cardiology resources for families in New York, empowering you with knowledge and support.

How to Support Children with Heart Conditions

July 15, 2024

Navigate strategies for supporting children with heart conditions, from diagnosis to lifelong care.

Community Cardiology Services for Kids in New York

July 15, 2024

Explore community cardiology services for kids in NY, helping build strong hearts with early detection and care.

What is a Pediatric Cardiology?

July 15, 2024

Uncover what is a pediatric cardiology? Learn about child heart conditions and expert care in New York.

Insights into Pediatric Heart Conditions

July 15, 2024

Navigate through pediatric heart conditions with expert insights - from diagnosis to long-term care.

Respite Care for Children with Special Needs

July 8, 2024

Explore respite care for children with special needs, from access to benefits, offering a lifeline for caregivers.

Is There a Cure for Sickle Cell Anemia?

July 8, 2024

Explore advancements towards curing sickle cell anemia, from gene therapy to FDA-approved treatments.

Infant Chronic Lung Disease: Breaking Down the Risks

July 8, 2024

Discover the complications of infant chronic lung disease, its risk factors, and strategies for management.

Impulse Control Disorders in Children

July 8, 2024

Conquer impulse control disorders in children with effective strategies and professional help. Get the support your child needs now!

Impulse Control Disorders and Substance Abuse: Exploring the Relationship

July 8, 2024

Unveiling the link between impulse control disorders and substance abuse. Discover the hidden dangers and find support for parents.

How to Treat High Blood Pressure in Teenager

July 8, 2024

Learn effective strategies to manage high blood pressure in teenagers, promoting healthier lifestyles and better long-term health.

How to Treat High Blood Pressure in Children?

July 8, 2024

Master strategies to treat high blood pressure in children through balanced diet, regular exercise, and medical interventions.

How to Teach a Child with Intellectual Disability to Read

July 8, 2024

Explore strategies on how to teach a child with intellectual disability to read. Empower minds today!

How To Support Teens During Major Life Transitions

July 8, 2024

Learn how to support teens during major life transitions with effective tools and strategies, promoting resilience and positive growth.

How To Support A Teen With Social Anxiety

July 8, 2024

Learn how to support a teen with social anxiety, from treatment options to creating supportive environments.

How To Support A Teen With Learning Disabilities

July 8, 2024

Discover how to support a teen with learning disabilities: from early intervention to empowering tools.

How to Support a Teen with ADHD: A Guide

July 8, 2024

Learn how to support a teen with ADHD through academic strategies, fostering independence, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

How to Obtain Respite Care For Your Child's Wellbeing

July 8, 2024

Learn how to get respite care for your child, ensuring their wellbeing and giving you peace of mind through reliable care services.

How To Help Teens Manage Academic Pressure

July 8, 2024

Empower teens to manage academic pressure with effective strategies for stress reduction and self-care.

How To Help Teens Develop Healthy Relationships

July 8, 2024

Learn how to help teens develop healthy relationships, from nurturing friendships to handling digital influences.

How To Help Teens Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

July 8, 2024

Empower teens with healthy coping mechanisms. Harness their inner strength and conquer stress wisely with effective strategies and support.

How To Help Teens Develop A Healthy Self-esteem

July 8, 2024

Learn how to help teens build a healthy self-esteem. Nurture strength and resilience for lifelong confidence.

How To Handle Substance Abuse In Teens

July 8, 2024

Learn how to handle substance abuse in teens: from recognizing signs to exploring effective interventions.

How to Get Respite Care for My Child?

July 8, 2024

Learn how to get respite care for your child, explore financial aid options, and locate trusted services to support your family.

How to Get Health Insurance for Your Child with Autism?

July 8, 2024

Navigate steps to secure health insurance for your child with autism, ensuring comprehensive coverage and effective care plans.

How To Foster Positive Body Image In Adolescents

July 8, 2024

Explore how to foster positive body image in adolescents, from mental well-being to social influences.

How to Create a Safe Space for Teens to Express Their Emotions

July 8, 2024

Learn how to create a safe space for teens to express emotions, using trust, dialogue, and technology.

How to Become a Respite Caregiver for ASD

July 8, 2024

Discover how to become a respite caregiver for ASD, join a rewarding field and make a real difference.

How to Become a HCBS Provider in NY

July 8, 2024

Learn how to become an HCBS provider in NY, from Medicaid enrollment to maintaining compliance and providing high-quality care.

How to Apply for Child Care in the United States

July 8, 2024

Navigate how to apply for child care in the US, from financial aid to state programs, with our guide.

How To Address Self-harm Behaviors In Teens

July 8, 2024

Learn how to address self-harm behaviors in teens - from recognizing signs to effective intervention strategies.

How To Address Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) In Teens?

July 8, 2024

Navigate 'how to address OCD in teens' - understanding symptoms, treatments, and the power of empathy.

How To Address Anger Issues In Adolescents

July 8, 2024

Learn how to address anger issues in adolescents with effective techniques and professional interventions.

How Sickle Cell Anemia is Inherited in Families?

July 8, 2024

Decode how sickle cell anemia is inherited and learn about risk assessment, testing, and counseling.

How Respite Can Help You and Your Child: Your Lifeline in Parenting

July 8, 2024

Discover how respite can help you and your child with disabilities – a lifeline for parents in New York.

How Rare is Childhood Dementia?

July 8, 2024

Unveiling the truth: Is childhood dementia rare? Explore the prevalence, impact, & advances in research for families facing this challenge.

How Much Time Should Parents Spend with Their Child?

July 8, 2024

Navigate the question of how much time parents should spend with their child, with a focus on autism.

How Much Is Child Support In NYC?

July 8, 2024

Get insights on 'how much is child support in NYC?' Explore factors, additional costs, and legal repercussions.

How Much Is Child Support For Two Kids In NY?

July 8, 2024

Discover how much is child support for 2 kids in NY? Unravel the factors, court's role, and services.

How Much Is Child Support For Four Kids In NYS?

July 8, 2024

Unveil the truth about how much child support is required for four kids in NYS. Explore the factors, laws, and guidelines involved.

How Much Does Health Insurance for a Child with Autism Cost?

July 8, 2024

Navigate 'how much is health insurance for a child' with autism. Uncover costs, subsidies, and more.

How Much Do Physical Therapists Actually Make?

July 8, 2024

Unravel "how much do physical therapists make" with our comprehensive guide on salaries and factors.

How Much Do Daycare Workers Get Paid in New York?

July 8, 2024

Discover how much daycare workers get paid in New York, and uncover the factors influencing their wages and overall compensation.

How Much Child Support Do I Need For One Child In NY?

July 8, 2024

Demystify how much child support is needed for one child in NY with our comprehensive guide, providing clarity and essential information.

How Many Weeks of Free Respite Care Are You Allowed?

July 8, 2024

Unravel how many weeks of free respite care are you allowed. Learn about options, costs, and coverage.

How Many Long Term Care Facilities are in the US?

July 8, 2024

Get the lowdown on how many long-term care facilities in the US, their impact, and trends shaping them.

How Many Home Health Aides Are There in New York - A Closer Look

July 8, 2024

Discover the number of home health aides in New York and how they support families with disabled children.

How Many Home Care Agencies Operate in New York State?

July 8, 2024

Discover how many home care agencies operate in New York State. Find the support your autistic child deserves.

How Long Does Group Therapy Last

July 8, 2024

Dive into the ins and outs of group therapy and discover how long group therapy typically lasts, ensuring informed participation.

How Long Can A Child Have Diabetes Without Knowing

July 8, 2024

Unmask the silent threat by learning about diagnosing diabetes in children, understanding symptoms, and effective management strategies.

How Home and Community Based Services Enhance Lives

July 8, 2024

Explore how home and community based services are transforming care, enhancing quality of life, and shaping the future.

How DSS in NYS Supports Children with Disabilities

July 8, 2024

Explore 'what is DSS in NYS?' and how it supports children with disabilities through transformative services.

How Does Cardiovascular Disease Affects Childhood?

July 8, 2024

Discover how cardiovascular disease impacts childhood, affecting physical health, emotional wellbeing, and social interactions.

How Do You Deal With Intellectual Disability? The Power of Advocacy

July 8, 2024

Discover the power of advocacy for intellectual disability and how it creates opportunities and promotes equality.

How Do You Deal With a Mentally Unstable Child

July 8, 2024

Gain insights on dealing with a mentally unstable child, from recognizing signs to seeking professional help and effective support strategies.

How Do I Know if My Child Has Intellectual Disability

July 8, 2024

Discover how to recognize if your child has an intellectual disability and the support options available.

How Crisis Affects Middle Childhood Development

July 8, 2024

Uncover how crisis affects middle childhood development and learn strategies to provide robust support.

How Conflict and Crisis Impact Childhood Development

July 8, 2024

Explore how conflict and crisis affect childhood, their impacts, and multilevel support for healing.

How Common is Pediatric Hypertension?

July 8, 2024

Discover how common pediatric hypertension is and gain insights on its risk factors, symptoms, and management.

How Child Care Vouchers Help in NY

July 8, 2024

Navigate child care vouchers in NY - from eligibility to application, we've got your childcare costs covered.

How CFASS Can Help Your Child's Journey

July 8, 2024

Discover how CFASS empowers children with disabilities. Support, guidance, and resources for your child's journey!

Home-Based Waiver Programs for Kids

July 8, 2024

Discover home-based waiver programs for kids, simplifying care and assistance for your special needs child.

Home-based Therapy for Intermittent Explosive Disorder

July 8, 2024

Discover effective home-based therapy for intermittent explosive disorder, enhancing peace and quality of life.

Home-Based Strategies for Explosive Disorder Treatment

July 8, 2024

Explore effective home-based explosive disorder treatment strategies to transform your child's life.

Home-Based Strategies for ADHD Treatment

July 8, 2024

Discover effective home-based ADHD treatment strategies to empower parents and improve children's lives.

Home-Based Respite Services for Kids

July 8, 2024

Explore home-based respite services for kids in NY: a beacon of hope for caregivers of special needs children.

Home-based Mental Health Support For Kids

July 8, 2024

Explore home-based mental health support for kids in NY: resources, professional help, and self-care tips.

Home-based Anxiety Management For Kids

July 8, 2024

Create a calming home environment with strategies for managing anxiety in kids, from structured routines to relaxation techniques.

Home Health Care Services

July 8, 2024

Explore home health care services and their benefits, financing options, and their future, all in one guide.

Home Health Aide Hourly Earnings in NY

July 8, 2024

Discover how much home health aides make an hour in NY, their responsibilities, and the advanced tasks they handle to provide comprehensive care.