Dealing with Risk
A seizure that ends normally after a minute or two is usually not hazardous to a child who has epilepsy.
However, risks increase when the seizure happens near water, at heights, near traffic, or in any setting in which sudden loss of awareness could be dangerous.
Parents naturally want to protect a child who has this extra level of risk on top of all the other risks that accompany a normal childhood. However, excessive concern about risk may isolate children with epilepsy from others and reduce social interaction. The following information may help you strike a balance.
Water can be a hazard to children with seizures, whether it is in a swimming pool, at the beach, or in the bathtub.
A child with epilepsy -- or any child -- should never swim alone, or be on a boat or close to water (including backyard wading pools) without a flotation device or life jacket.
If a child has a seizure in water, he or she should be checked by a lifeguard or parent. If there is any possibility that water has been swallowed or breathed into the lungs, get a medical check up.
Unless your child's doctor recommends otherwise, sports activities and other exercise are as beneficial to a child with epilepsy as they are to any other child.
In general, school sports activities and gym should be open to all children, including children with seizures. Safety measures such as harnesses, shock absorbing mats and adult supervision should reduce risks.
Coaches and other officials should be aware that a child has seizures, and how the parents want them to be managed.
Wearing safety helmets when riding a bicycle, or for sports where head injury is possible, should reduce risk.