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Parents reminded to use recovery position for a child who has had a seizure

Parents may be doing more harm than good when their children pass out during a seizure by performing "dangerous" manoeuvres, researchers have said.

While it is common for children to lose consciousness following a seizure, parents do not always use the recovery position, which helps keep the airway open, they said.

The study of 533 parents from 11 children's emergency care departments across Europe was published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The children ranged from babies up to the age of 18 and had either passed out within the previous 24 hours or were unconscious when they arrived at the A&E department.

In 145 cases, parents put their child in the recovery position (26 per cent of the total).

But in 53 per cent of cases, other manoeuvres were used - with 17 per cent of these regarded as "dangerous" ,including shaking.

Among the children, loss of consciousness was most commonly caused by seizures linked to a high temperature, followed by seizures for other reasons.

One in five children had an underlying condition, the most common of which was epilepsy (seven per cent).

Putting the child in the recovery position was associated with a 28 per cent overall lower risk of hospital admission, the study found.

For children under the age of two, this risk was 10 times lower.

Ley Sander, medical director at Epilepsy Society stressed the importance of putting a child in the recovery position following a seizure. 'When a child is having a seizure, it is important to make sure that they are safe and cannot injure themselves. Make sure you cushion their head. If they are hot as in a febrile seizure, remove any outer clothing to help cool them down.

'Most seizures will stop of their own accord and then the child can be carefully placed on their side, in the recovery position, with their head tilted back.

'Always check that nothing is blocking their airways and that their breathing has returned to normal. If problems with breathing continue, you should always call an ambulance.'

What to do if you see someone having a seizure

Read Epilepsy Society's first aid information here