First Seizure in Children

Children’s Services, Colchester Hospital, Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5JL

Children’s Ward Tel: 01206 746208 or 746209

Children’s Assessment Unit Tel: 01206 746200 Children’s Emergency Unit Tel: 01206 742847

Leaflet in association with: Eastern Paediatric Epilepsy Network


Watching your child have a seizure is a very frightening experience You may even think that your child is dying. However, seizures are not as serious as they look.

A seizure is a disturbance of electrical activity in the brain that causes messages to become mixed up. There are different sorts of seizures (sometimes called fits or convulsions). Often, children become unconscious and are not able to respond to you. They may fall and there can be jerking of the limbs.

More Information

A single seizure does not mean your child has epilepsy – this may be the only seizure your child ever has. If your child has more seizures, he or she may require further investigation and/ or treatment.


  • Assess the situation.
  • Note the time – how long did it last?
  • Move objects that may cause injury.
  • Put something soft under the child’s head.
  • Turn on his or her side as soon as possible.
  • Stay with the child.

Do not: 

  • Panic.
  • Move the child unless in danger.
  • Restrict movements.
  • Place anything in the mouth.
  • Give anything by mouth until fully recovered.

Call an ambulance (999) if: 

  • You are frightened or need help.
  • The seizure continues for more than five minutes.
  • If one seizure follows another.
  • If the child is injured or you are concerned about their breathing
  • You believe they need medical attention.

If you have not called for an ambulance because the seizure is short lived, you will need to inform your GP or a health professional.

It is a good idea to let other people know that your child has had a first seizure, such as family, friends, your child’s school or playgroup, nursery or childminder. Why don’t you share first aid information with them?

It is important to let your child take part in all their normal activities.

However, you need to take extra care when they bath, swim, cycle or cook.

Your GP, school nurse, health visitor or other health professional.

You child will be seen in the epilepsy clinic for further advice and Management.

NHS 111 Epilepsy Action

Epilepsy Society

When you attend hospital you will be asked to confirm your first and last names, date of birth, postcode and NHS number, if you know it, and to let us know if you have any allergies.

Please raise any concerns in the ward or department you are in. Ask to speak with the ward sister, matron or department manager. If your concerns cannot be resolved or you wish to make a formal complaint, please call PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) on 0800 783 7328, pick up a PALS leaflet or visit and search for ‘PALS’.

If you or a family member has recently been in Colchester Hospital, you can tell us about your experience by searching for ‘Colchester’ on the NHS website (, by writing to the address on the front of this leaflet or by filling in a ‘Friends & Family’ questionnaire at the hospital.