Q: My baby sometimes stares into space and doesn't focus. Could these be absence seizures?
A: It's normal for babies to seem mesmerized by the world around them (after all, there's so much for them to observe out there), as well as have little tics that come and go, like blinking and lip smacking. But if your baby seems to be staring at something and you can't distract him or turn his head, or if you notice any repetitive movements that you can't stop, then you should bring it up with your pediatrician. It is possible that your baby could be having absence seizures (a mild form of epilepsy), which generally involves the child staring off into space with a blank expression on his face, as if he were daydreaming, and sometimes turning his head or fluttering his eyelids as well. The seizures usually last less than a minute, and most kids go back to doing whatever they were engaged in before the episode started. It's rare for a baby to have absence seizures (they usually show up between 6 and 8 years old), but if it turns out yours does, know that they're not harmful, and can usually be curbed with medication. Almost 70 percent of kids outgrow absence seizures by age 18.
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