Cramps in children


Children can have different kinds of cramps. The most common are fever cramps and seizures. The cramps usually go away within a few minutes.

In this text, you can read about the most common cramps in children. The ages indicated are approximate. 

How can cramps turn out?

Cramps can manifest in different ways:

  • You are not allowed to contact the child who is looking straight ahead, upwards or sideways.
  • The child may have twitching in the face, arms, and legs, either on one or both sides of the body.
  • The child can become completely stiff without twitching and can bite his teeth together hard.
  • The child may become limp in the body and collapse.
  • The child can pee or poop.
  • The child can drool.
  • The child’s face color may become dark, almost blue or whitish.

Different types of cramps

Febrile seizures

Some children may have fever cramps when the fever rises rapidly and is above about 39 degrees.

Common symptoms of febrile seizures are:

  • The child loses consciousness.
  • The whole body becomes stiff, the head bends back, the skin becomes pale and maybe even a little blue.
  • Often the child has twitches.

Usually, the cramp goes on in minutes. Here you can read about fever cramps.

Affect Attack

Affect attacks are due to strong feelings in the child. For example, it may be about pain, anger or fear. The usual symptom is that the child starts screaming so much that they lose their breath and lose consciousness for a minute. The child can also lose consciousness without screaming. It may look nasty but is not dangerous.

Here you can read more about affect attacks. 

Epileptic seizures and epilepsy

The symptoms of an epileptic seizure come suddenly. They usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can be very different for different people, but in one and the same person, the attacks are usually the same every time. Common symptoms are:

  • The child loses consciousness.
  • The child becomes rigid throughout the body and gets twitches in one or more body parts.
  • The child chews, saliva flows out of his mouth.
  • The child becomes pale.

Often the child is very tired when the seizure is over.

In another type of seizure, the child may become unreachable, limp throughout the body and may fall.

Here you can read more about epilepsy.

Absence Attacks

One type of seizure causes the child to be absent for a short while and stare blankly in front of him but is then quick as usual again. Such an attack is called an absence attack and means that the child loses consciousness but is unaffected immediately when the attack has passed. If your child has such a seizure, contact a pediatrician so that the child is examined as soon as possible. The doctor is investigating what it may be due to.

Infantile spasms

Infantile spasms are a series of secondary short bends in the neck, arms and legs. The head falls forward, the arms extend and bend forward, and the legs are pulled up. If younger children between two months and two years have such seizures, you should seek care directly at an emergency room or a pediatric ward. The child needs to be immediately examined, investigated and given prompt treatment.

What can I do for myself?

Seizures in children look life-threatening, but this is extremely rare.

Do this:

  • Make sure that the respiratory tract is free if the child loses consciousness and shakes the body.
  • Loosen garments that are attached.
  • Place the child on his back during the attack.
  • Place the child in a stable lateral position when the seizure is over. She should lie face down slightly so that saliva and possibly blood can run out.

When and where should I seek care?

You do not need to seek care if the child has had a similar cramp at an earlier time and you know what to do.

Contact the treating physician if the child has a known seizure disorder and has a seizure that goes on, but feels good afterward. You do not need to seek care elsewhere if it is closed. Wait until reception opens.

If it’s in a hurry

If the child has one or more of the following problems, immediately contact a health care center or an open reception center :

  • The child has had a seizure that has gone over but is not feeling well afterward.
  • The cramps are different than usual.

If it is closed at the health center or on-call reception, seek care at an emergency room.

  • The child has an ongoing seizure for the first time.
  • The child has ongoing muscle twitching or is rigid in the body.
  • The child does not regain consciousness within two minutes.

Influence and participate in your care

Children should be able to participate 

The Patient Act was introduced on January 1, 2015. The purpose is to strengthen the patient’s position in healthcare. 

There is no age limit for when a child can have an influence over their care. The child’s ability to participate in related to the child’s maturity.

The older the child, the more important it is for them to be involved in their care. In order to be active in the care and to make decisions, it is important that you as an adult and the child understand the information you receive from the care staff.

Leave a Reply