CONVULSION: 5 Things not to do & what to do

Convulsion or Seizures as we know, means when there is involuntary movements or actions as a result of disturbance of brain functions. The causes are numerous.

Today, we would like to share with you, a number of wrong things which we should not do during a seizure, and the things that we can do.

Things not to do in a Convulsion/Convulsing Child.

  1. Putting spoon/hand/objects in the mouth: When you put a spoon, your hand or any object at all for that matter, in the child’s mouth, to prevent the teeth from closing, it can cause the tongue to fall back and block the airway/throat, thereby causing Suffocation.
  2. The spoon or object, can also cause a tooth to fall out, especially in a child. The child can inhale it, which can lead to choking.
  3. Putting Oil in their mouth: I don’t know who taught this, but this can make the oil to enter their lungs, leading to Aspiration, and causing respiratory difficulties.

Other common mistakes people make, and which we should not do includes;

  1. Using things like Onions, Cow urine concoction, Mother’s urine, even Palm kernel oil. These are very very bad & would cause more harm/injury to the child.
  2. Some persons even think convulsions are spiritual and starts making marks over the persons body or even placing their hands or feet in fire to stop it.

Please, all these are very very wrong. YOU SHOULD NOT DO IT. They are all UNNECESSARY and also very DEADLY.

The truth is that, the convulsion alone that the baby or child is having, cannot kill the child.

What could eventually kill the child is mostly the complications that arise from harmful first aid practices, done with good intentions that our parents & persons of old have been practicing.

Many of them would argue

  • that it has been working,
  • that these actions have helped saved the life of that child,
  • that if they haven’t placed the spoon of hands in their mouths, that they would have swallowed their tongues & died.

But, THIS IS NOT TRUE. They have just been lucky. In fact, For anyone that, it has worked for, there are 2 persons our there that died as a result of this action.

What you should Know about Convulsions:
The thing about convulsions is that, they would eventually stop on their own, whether you do anything or not.

The only fear that we have with it is the likely brain injury/damage that can come from prolonged and/or frequent seizures, and when there is a damage to the brain, it is not reversible. It is permanent.

What you should do During Convulsions
Hence, We advice that,

  1. whenever a child is having seizures, even after it has stopped, you should take them to the hospital, so that the doctors will find the cause & reason for the seizures, then treat it. Once treated, seizure will stop.
    If it’s epilepsy, treatment would be lifelong, so as to prevent it from recurring.

Don’t stay home because it stopped. It may come back again, and each time it comes, It takes ‘a piece of the brain’ with it. Consistent frequent seizures can affect the brain function overtime. So get help. Don’t pamper it.

  1. If the convulsions does not stop after 5 mins, carry the child to the nearest hospital/emergency centre. The doctors will stop the seizure immediately & treat the cause.

While you’re at it, stop every other unnecessary ’first aid’; Onions, Mother’s urine, Palm kernel oil, Cow urine, foot roasting over naked fire. These children, or affected persons don’t benefit from all those.

I know it is very scary to watch a child convulsing. Very very scary!. However, here’s what can help:
When a child is convulsing:

  • remove any harmful objects around them, so they do not injure themselves with it, because they do not know what they are doing.
  • do not attempt to stop them when convulsing or hold them.
  • if there is FOAMING in their mouth, simply turn them on their side, once the convulsions stop, so the liquid can go out from the side to prevent them from choking. Don’t put your fingers in or any object.
  • If there is Fever: Use luke warm water to mop their body. Please, do not use cold water.
  • if it lasts more that 5 mins as we said before, visit your hospital/state emergency if you have the means.
Seizures in a young Child.

Don’t introduce anything into their mouth, it will do more harm than good.

Most times, for Children, you arrive the hospital to find out they are having severe malaria which parents have been pampering at home. Once that malaria is treated, baby will be fine.

You can learn more about Convulsions/Seizures here.

We know it’s a scary episode, that’s why we’re encouraging you to go to the hospital.

Be safe


  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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