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Infant Absence Seizures

Question

I'm noticing that at least three times a day, my 13-week-old will turn his head and eyes to the right side so that it almost passes his shoulder. I try to bring his head back to the center because it is so far to the right, but he resists with a great deal of strength. He also stares into space and loses focus. No matter what I do, I cannot regain his attention. Could these be seizures?

Answer

Staring into space for a few seconds can be normal for young babies but there is a type of seizure called an absence seizure or petit mal, where there is a blank facial expression. Kids stop moving and just stare into space or flutter their eyelids, usually for less than 30 seconds.

Because they are short and not very dramatic, these seizures can go undiagnosed. However, these seizures are uncommon before 5 years of age. The younger kids are, the less common they become. They do not harm or damage kids directly, but by making kids lose attention when they are doing something important, they can cause trouble -- learning problems, for instance, or driving problems. There are good medicines to treat them, though.

 

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.