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Activity Restrictions in Children with Seizures

Losing conciousness or physical control due to a seizure could result in injurious or disastrous consequences in some situations. Placing restrictions on activities, particularly for kids, can be difficult and have its own consequences for development, socialization, and health. Discussions with parents and children should consider the risks, in terms of likelihood of a future seizure and of injury should a seizure occur, and alternatives for activities and supervision. Specific situations to consider include:
  • Water (baths, pools, lakes/ocean) A child with seizures should be supervised 1 to 1 by an adult while swimming.
  • Heights (climbing trees, playground equipment, mountains)
  • In/on moving Conveyances, etc. (bikes, boards, skis)
  • Near equipment that may cause a burning injury (hot water heaters, cooking equipment)
  • The child having a seizure without an adult who knows what to do in case of a seizure present, including the family at a friend;s house, a babysitter, etc.
Children that have frequent seizures, particularly atonic or drop attacks, will sometimes need to be fitted with a helmet to prevent head injury.

Resources

Information & Support

For Professionals

Epilepsy and driving: physician issues (Epilepsy Foundation)

Driving with Epilepsy (Epilepsy Foundation)
Information from the Epilepsy Foundation regarding state driving laws.

Authors

Reviewing Author: Denise Morita, MD - 6/2011
Compiled and edited by: Lynne M Kerr, MD, PhD - 5/2011