Remember those frightening depictions of fits you see in TV dramas where the person suddenly starts convulsing and blacks out?
In babies and young kids, fits may look nothing like that. In fact, the signs can be easily missed.
Sometimes, it can be difficult, even for experts, to differentiate seizure signs from normal movements in very young children, says Dr Christelle Tan, a specialist in paediatrics at Raffles Specialists, Raffles Holland V.
“A baby’s brain is still immature and developing, and cannot produce the coordinated response that you see in generalised tonic-clonic seizures that most people are familiar with,” she explains.
It is also easy to mistake your newborn’s Moro reflex for a seizure, Dr Tan says. When your little one is startled, by a loud sound for example, she may suddenly extend her arms outwards with her fingers spread out before pulling them in.
This is a normal startle response that babies have up to the age of three to four months.
In a real seizure, the jerking movements usually cannot be stopped even if you change your baby’s position or hold down the limb, she adds.