My Healthy 2 yr.old Had an Unexplained Seizure

Updated on April 20, 2010
K.J. asks from Stanardsville, VA
17 answers

Last night I heard my 2 1/2 yr.old making a snoring/gurgling noise about 1 hr after his bedtime. When I checked on him, he was on his back, staring wide-eyed, drooling profusely and his whole body was jerking. He was completely unresponsive. It was terrifying! This went on for 5 min. after I found him. We called 911 and went by ambulance to Chapel Hill Pediatric Hosp. If the seizure wasn't awful enough, afterward his left arm was limp and he was unable to move it. Thank goodness shortly before arriving at CH he started regaining control and was using it fully within 15 min.
We racked our brains trying to think of anything that could have brought this on...the day before we did yard work and used weed killer/fertilizer -he played in the grass 2-3 hrs. later...that day he played in a big area of dusty dirt(his fav activity is throwing dirt/rocks!)...that evening he may have drank someof his dirty bathwater...I gave him a Flintstones vitamin 30 min before his Singulair RX and he usually gets the vit. in the AM.
I know some of these things are silly, but a lot was going through our minds. The Dr dismissed all of those "reasons" and did a CT scan, which came back normal. So we came home and made a follow up with the neurology dept. in 2 days. Now more worries.theyv'e scheduled an EEG-What is that and how am I going to hold him down for it if I'm even allowed in the room!?
Of course he seems 100% back to normal, thank God.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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So What Happened?

I have to say I was overwhelmed by all the response. This support means alot as we are new to this area and have no close family. We bought a video baby monitor the next day which gave us a little peace of mind.
I'm very glad Chapel Hill has a Children's Hospital because everyone was very helpful and worked well with my rambunctious boy! The EEG went well - the tech. said this was the best 2 yr old he's done! I did call ahead to ask what they would do, so I told him Mommy would wrap him in a blanket and hold him like a baby while the Dr. looked at his head. They said I could bring the DVD player-YEA! My sweet boy climbed right up on the table and layed down, we wrapped a sheet then a velcro 'papoose' around him and he was fine with it! I sat his DVD in his chest, and the tech measured and marked points, then stuck each probe on with a gob of gooey salve and put a piece of dry gauze over it to kind of hold it in place. Then he wrapped his head in gauze and turned the lights down. I switched to reading his fav. book while the tech flashed a series of strobe lights(my DS actually laughed at them and asked for more!) The tech did have to hold my son's eyes closed for 30 sec. since he wouldn't do it himself, and we had some teary moments, but all in all it it went OK.
The Neurologist appt. after was not as good. It was a long visit since they were backed up and had to read the EEG. In the end, we have scheduled an MRI. They saw spikes on the right side which is why the seizure jerks were more on his left side and affected his left arm later. I'm going to try not to wonder too much until we can get more accurate info from the MRI, but it is some relief that we knoe it wasn't anything he ate or did that day.
We also got an RX if he has another seizure, diazepam rectal gel to be given only if the seizure lasts more than 5min. Hopefully we'll never have to use it. Sorry this was so long, but with all the responses I wanted to give all the info.
Thanks again to everyone! I may still have more to ask on this subject!

Featured Answers


answers from Fresno on

I have a friend whose son went through this. He was about that age when it happened. They told her sometimes a virus can cause it! At the time they ran all kinds of tests and found nothing. Her son is now a freshman in high school and it has never happened since! I think sometimes weird, unexplained things can happen, and they have no known cause...

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answers from Nashville on

An EEG is a test where they stick little electrodes to your forehead and monitor brain activity, it is not something you should have to hold him down for and it is not scary. He might even think it's kinda cool if you act like it's something really fun to do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So sorry you are going through this. It is very common for toxins to cause seizures and for some reason the medical community is so reluctant to admit it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Knoxville on

I know that all of this is very scary! Do the follow-up with the neurology dept. This is their area of specialty. There are a lot of things that can cause seizures. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.



answers from Columbus on

As hard as it is, you will not get a neat, clean answer to why for every thing that happens. It would be nice to be able to blame it on something so that you could protect him and make sure it does not happen again. Just be glad that you found him, and that you know it happend.

Let the Doctors do what they need to. An EEG is the next step, they looked at the brain structure in a CT, and now they are looking at the electrical function by attaching electrodes to his head. They may have him look at different speeds of flashing light, have him try to sleep, or other things to get a look at the patterns. After that, they might do an MRI with dye contrast to check structures that they cannot see with a CT. They have to rule out all the stuff it could be, but be happy if it turns out to be one of those things that is never explained, and does not happen again. My guess is that they are more concerned because he lost function of the hand for a time and will do every test they can to make sure that they are not missing anything treatable.

I would resist the temptation to lay blame on the simple everyday stuff, it will drive you crazy.




answers from Colorado Springs on

What a scary thing! I'm so sorry you are going through this. The one thing I would ask is if he had had vaccinations any time recently. Sometimes we forget these details, but it is an important one. If not, then I'm not sure at all what could have caused it. You have some good advice from other women though.



answers from Nashville on

It could be so many things but I would keep a journal of the things you mentioned in case a doc in the future asks what he ate that day or played with. I would also consider taking him to a specialist, like Vanderbilt children's hospital. A friend's 7 yr old son just has his first seizure while sleeping. I am not sure of the cause so I don't want to say but I do know it is a something with his brain and they have to keep a video monitor on him while sleeping and he is on medication. There is epilepsy, etc Don't let this slide, keep on until you get some answers. As far as an EEG, I do not know what it is but I don't think you have to hold him down, I think that is only for MRI's. Good luck.



answers from Huntington on

hello the eeg is a test to see if there is more seizure activity. you wont have to hold your child unless you want to. and yea you can be with your child. was your child running fever when this happened.



answers from Miami on

Here's what happened to us.

No. 1 - you're son is on Singulair for preventive medication for Asthma, am I correct?

My oldest who is now 5 thankfully has grown out of all of this. When he was 8 months he had his first Asthma attack. I had no idea what was going on - so we took him to the E.R. - a week later the same thing - two weeks later the same thing - three weeks later the same thing. So then we put him on preventative medication - Albuterol twice a day, Singulair once a day - and Pulmicort once a day.
It all seemed to be working very well. Up until he was about 28 months. We came home from my moms house it was late - we put him into our bed because he wasn't feeling too go and because of the previous attacks I worried and wanted to sleep next to him. I went downstairs to get some water and some tylenol for myself - spoke to my husband for about 10 minutes - went upstairs - found my son completely unalert holding very still and eyes wide open and drooling. alot like what you just described but with out the shaking. Every seizure is different. Some people shake and some people stand straight still. The ER took a CT Scan and I scheduled myself into the Neurologist within the same week for him to be seen. More for the reasons that this seizure was a "fluke" nothing could describe why except he had a low grade fever. So I took him to the Neurologist was scheduled to have an EEG done the following week. During that whole week of waiting I decided to do my own investigation. You know that saying "a doctor can know a disease and medicate it and get it better, but there's nothing like a mom knowing their kids when their sick". It seemed to be a pattern of events. And this went on for about 4 days. Finally I thought it was something to do with his diet. I made homemade Mango juice and gave him a glassful about 20 minutes later - into a complete seizure for 2 minutes and after an asthma attack. I looked back on everything that he came in contact to. The juice that I had given him had Mango in it. The juice I gave him that night he had is first seizure was pure mango. He was allergic to Mango. I kept it away from him kept giving him the asthma treatments - enrolled him into swimming classes and a month or two later was practically cleared. I think he's had one asthma attack since he was 3.

Look into all the things that he had that day. Food, drinks, items he touched, cleaning supplies, grass, weeds as you said, and other stuff. If his EEG comes out normal - all of this is going to be trial and era - you as a parent will have to find out what caused it and if he is asthmatic - what is setting off his asthma. And if he is asthmatic enroll him into swimming - the water cleans out your system and it clears his body of the fluids that cause asthma.

If you want further help PM me and I can give you other options and other advice.... take care and do not stress too much!!! You worry only if there's something to worry about.



answers from Charlotte on

An EEG-will check brain waves. You will not have to hold him down. He will need to be fairly still but not to the point of having to lie completely still for a long time.
Please do not blame yourself. There was nothing that you could have done differently. Some people are just prone to having seizures. I know that it is scary for you, but please know that most people that have seizures live normal lives.
If it happens again, be sure to protect his head. Do not try and pry his mouth open with your fingers. Make sure his airway is straight. Do try and arouse him after it is over.
Best wishes to you!!



answers from Boise on

Adding: Asthma is a top symptom of magnesium deficiency.

I do alot of medical research and there is much data about magnesium deficiency causing sezures, including those related to epilepsy and those that aren't.

You need to be careful about supplements and vitamins. Our diets are currently OVER-loaded with additives that are causing imbalances- explicitly, IRON, CALCIUM and VIT D and phosphorus overload. These are added by the food companies with abandon to our foods.... Then, people go and do supplements on top of them. These overloads cause a magnesium deficiency/hypervitaminosis D, and hypercalcemia.

Currently, Magnesium, which is highly important to the central nervous system has been dropping for the last 70 years and is now in the red. Meanwhile, calcium, phosphorus and vit D are skyrocketing. They are continuing to add more and more of it to food as well.

Add magnesium malate in pill form and magnesium oil to his skin.
Magnesium is also a Chelator of heavy metals and poisons, another plus.
Unlike Ca, Iron, Etc..magnesium doesnt build up in tissues, and any extra is eliminated. Check out this site:



answers from Nashville on

Oh God Bless! I can't imagine how you feel!!
Yes, weed killer is horribly toxic! (drink liquids to get out of the body)
replace pestisides with vinegar/water..there are other gentle alternatives.
Please, Please read this pest. chemical information!

Here are some wonderful websites for you:

I feel for you! Please update us!



answers from Chattanooga on

I know that's scary, and I'm sorry you have had to go through that experience. I just wanted to let you know that my daughter had staring spells at nearly 2 years old, and her pediatrician ordered an EEG for her. Unlike the others' experiences, I was in charge of holding her arms down and keeping her relatively still while the electrodes were being placed and glued and throughout the whole EEG which I think took about an hour. I had to lay on the table with her and hold her arms down so that she wouldn't pull off the electrodes. I wasn't given any option, but I would have much rather held her down than have someone she doesn't know laying beside her and holding her down in the near dark for about an hour- that would have been much more stressful for my daughter. There are strobe lights at times, and it was always light enough for me to see even when they weren't doing the strobe lights. It wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't the hardest thing we've been through either, and suprisingly my daughter didn't cry much. You might want to call the place that is doing the EEG, and the nurses there can probably answer your questions since it appears from the responses that others have not had to hold their kids down- maybe as they are older, they are more able to keep themselves from pulling the electrodes off? The other thing that wasn't much fun was washing the glue out of her hair- the nurses gave me shampoo, towels, a bunch of little toy prizes, and a sink to use, and they told me it would take a few washes to get it out- it took maybe three washes and a lot of combing out glue. If I had it to do again, I might have asked the nurses if I could take her home to wash the glue out because a bath tub would have been more pleasant. And if you're not doing it at a children's hospital, maybe you might want to go to one where the staff is especially good with kids. I don't mean to scare you. Really it wasn't terrible, but I just wanted you to be prepared since you were asking about it and others' experiences varied from ours. My daughter's staring spells were unexplained by the EEG, but they also quit over time. I pray that you and your family won't have to go through another episode like this.



answers from Louisville on

If this is his first and only seizure so far, I'm surprised they are doing an EEG! My child's neuro (back a few years) said that sometimes a person can have one seizure w/o any known reason and never have another - so they didn't do any testing w/o a good reason until a second seizure.

Anyway, an EEG will not hurt him at all - he'll just look like his head is all wired up! They will attach a lot of tiny wired monitors (presuming they are still wired) to his head - and then will, if it is done the same, set off a strobe light to various blinking patterns to see what reaction happens with his brain.

Have they said to have him sleep-deprived before doing this EEG? Not sure they would w/his age - but sleep deprivation was required w/my dau a little over 10 years ago (she was a teen and her seizures were like that - an hour either side of the sleep cycle)

Btw - those type of seizures you saw him have used to be called grand mal seizures, but the last time I heard, the interns were using the term tonic clonic (and even that might've changed in the last couple of years!)

Hopefully that will be his only one! Good luck with the EEG!



answers from Portland on

I am so sorry!
The ONLY thing that sends off a warning in my head would be the weed killer/fertilizer. Check on the bag, get a list of ALL the ingredients and then go to :
and enter the ingredients in there. Its a great website that can tell you all the things that are harmful.
Good luck to you, my thoughts are with you and your young son.



answers from Lexington on

It was probably caused by his exposure to the weed killer. Please be very careful when handling chemicals, for your own sake as well as his.



answers from Los Angeles on

oh wow that is terrifying! did he hit his head at all? is there any chance he is epileptic. i pray that the drs find out what is wrong with your sweet baby boy :)

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