Children can have seizures for many reasons - they are not all epileptic seizures. An epileptic seizure happens when your child's brain has abnormal electrical activity that causes unusual movements, behaviour or funny feelings. Epilepsy is quite a common condition - it affects 1 in every 200 children.

Child going into MRI scanner with radiologist standing over child and sibling looking on

Our thanks to My little drummer boys: Preparing your child for an MRI scan for permission to reproduce the photo of the young boy on the MRI scanner bed.  

Our brains think and control our bodies using electrical messages. An epileptic seizure happens when there is abnormal electrical activity in your child's brain. Most tamariki (children) who have one epileptic seizure will never have another one.

Epilepsy is the name of a group of disorders. Tamariki (children) with epilepsy have epileptic seizures. But not all children with epileptic seizures have epilepsy.

Learn more about different types of seizures, including what you might see and what your child might feel.

If your child has received a diagnosis of epilepsy, they need understanding and you will all need time to adjust. Generally, your whānau (family) routine and experiences should remain the same. The main change is that your child may need to take regular medicine and follow some safety advice.

Animated videos for primary school tamariki (children) featuring Campi the seahorse, and his friends Cala and Tuno. 

Find out what to do if your child has a seizure. 

Your child's healthcare team will give you advice about increasing safety for your child with epilepsy. The advice will depend on the type and frequency of your child's seizures.

It is very helpful to keep an up to date record of your child's seizures. 

If your child has had an epileptic seizure, they may need an electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG is a recording of the brain's electrical activity. Your child can have an EEG as an outpatient. They don't need to stay in hospital.

MRI is a special type of scan that can take detailed pictures of different parts of the body, such as the brain. A doctor may recommend MRI to help understand what's happening inside your child's brain.

The aim of anti-seizure medicines is to prevent epileptic seizures. They are very effective in controlling seizures when your child takes them correctly.