Activity Restrictions in Children with Seizures

In some situations, losing consciousness or physical control due to a seizure could result in disastrous consequences. Yet, restricting activities, particularly for kids, can be difficult and have its own developmental, social, and health consequences. Discuss with parents and children the likelihood of a future seizure and risk for injury. Explore alternatives for activities and the need for supervision, particularly in the following circumstances:
  • 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 (bikes, boards, skis)
  • Fire/equipment that may cause a burning injury (water heaters, cooking equipment)
  • Unskilled caregivers (child having a seizure without an adult who knows what to do, 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.
State laws concerning driving with epilepsy vary by state; consult the Division of Motor Vehicles for each state.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: September 2008; last update/revision: January 2019
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Lynne M. Kerr, MD, PhD
Reviewer: Denise Morita, MD
Authoring history
2008: first version: Lynne M. Kerr, MD, PhDA
AAuthor; CAContributing Author; SASenior Author; RReviewer