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How common are seizures in children?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
From one month to two years, "spells," which include seizures (especially febrile seizures), as well as apnea and breath-holding spells with loss of consciousness, are relatively common. When an infant has a seizure, it often occurs at the time of fever. It can be an infection of the nervous system; an underlying seizure disorder in which the stress of fever triggers the seizure; or a simple febrile seizure. A simple febrile seizure is a genetic age-limited form of epilepsy in which seizures occur only with fever. About 4 percent of children experience them. Of the children whose first seizure is associated with fever, only 2 percent have a nonfebrile seizure (epilepsy) by age seven. Apnea is cessation of breathing for fifteen seconds or longer or less than fifteen seconds if accompanied by a slow heart rate. The frequency of apnea is inversely related to age, so it is more often seen in newborns than infants, and is rarely seen in children. Apnea is rarely a manifestation of a seizure and more frequently related to reflux.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.