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alarms and safety aids

Some people with epilepsy find it helpful to consider safety aids or equipment that might help them with day-to-day life. For example, an alarm that can alert family or friends when someone has a seizure, or a safety pillow if they have seizures when they are sleeping.

Assessing your safety needs

Epilepsy can affect people differently. If your seizures are controlled by treatment, your safety may not be affected. But if you continue to have seizures, safety may be an issue for you. You might find it helpful to complete a risk assessment to help you to identify any possible risk when doing an activity, and provide some practical ideas to make an activity safer.

You can also ask your local social services for a 'needs assessment', which looks at your safety at home. Needs assessment are usually carried out by an occupational therapist (OT) who will visit you at home. This might identify the need for support or safety equipment such as an alarm.

Alarm systems may be available through housing associations or social services departments, and are sometimes called community alarms, 'Lifeline' or Telecare systems. Charges for community alarms vary from one authority to another, and also vary according to the service provided.

VAT exemption

Some equipment designed specifically to help people with disabilities does not include VAT. For example, you may not need to pay VAT on a seizure alarm system if you say it is for someone with epilepsy.

Call the HM Revenue and Customs (opens new window) Helpline on 0300 200 3700 or visit GOV.UK (opens new window) for more information.

Bed seizure alarms, fall call alarms and personal alarms

There are different types of alarm for different types of seizure. Some are set off when someone falls in a seizure or has a convulsive seizure in bed. Others can be set off by the person themselves if they feel a seizure coming on.

The charity Disabled Living Foundation provide independent advice and supplier information for bed seizure alarms, 'fall call' and personal alarm systems, including devices that use global positioning satellites (GPS) or mobile phone technology to locate a person.

The following organisations offer free bed seizure alarms for children with uncontrolled epilepsy.

All links open in new windows.

The Daisy Garland
01803 847 999
There may be a waiting list for alarms.

Muir Maxwell Trust
0131 273 5256
There may be a waiting list for alarms, but enquiries are welcome as funding for an alarm may be available depending on where you live.

Safety helmets (sometimes referred to as protective headgear)

01622 858 502
Various sizes, designs and additional features available. Some designs can be made to measure.
01626 835 552
Specialised protective helmets in two designs, tailored to individuals' needs. Various sizes and additional protectors are available.
01235 552 828
Produces a range of stock and custom-made skull protectors and protective helmets for adults and children.
07778 986 405
Protective hats for infants, designed to absorb and reduce the impact from falls. Thudguard Comfy Caps also available for older children and adults. Various designs available, made to measure.

Safety pillows

Safety pillows have small holes in so that someone may be able to breathe through them more easily if they are lying face down during a seizure.

07092 255 916

Safety pillows. Extra covers available.

Seizure Alert dogs

0114 261 7800

A charity that trains ‘Seizure Alert dogs’. Certain criteria need to be met to have a support dog. Pet dogs cannot be trained as Seizure Alert dogs.

Consumer advice

0207 427 2460
An independent consumer research charity providing free and independent reports on products and services for older and disabled people.
Helpline: 0300 999 0004
UK charity providing advice and information on alarms, safety and daily living aids and suppliers.
Please note: Epilepsy Society does not endorse any of the companies listed on this page and we stress that it is a personal choice whether someone uses alarms or other safety aids. Other companies may also provide these types of products.