Fits, faints and funny turns

Advice for Parents and Carers

There are many reasons for childhood “funny turns”. Your medical practitioner will have given you a likely diagnosis and this leaflet contains links for further information on some of the commonest causes of funny turns in childhood.

This leaflet is designed to alert you should your child’s symptoms change and advice as to where to get help. It helps to have a video of your child’s episodes to take to any medical appointments. 

If your child has for the first time any of the following:

  • If they become unconscious and do not recover after 5 minutes place your child on their side until help arrives as seen below (see picture)
  • If they have a seizure lasting more than 5 minutes
  • If they have >3 episodes in one day
  • Becomes persistently confused or unaware of their surroundings
  • Develops weakness in their arms/ legs or starts losing their balance
  • Develops problems with their eyesight
  • Collapses during exercise/ strenuous activity

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following at any time:

  • If they have more than one convulsive seizure in a week (Convulsive = unconscious with arms and legs stiff, sometimes shaking)
  • Loss of consciousness but has quick recovery (less than 5 minutes)
  • Change in their behaviour or excessive tiredness
  • Develops a persistent headache that doesn’t go away (despite painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • Develops a headache that wakes them from sleep
  • If your child has known epilepsy follow personalised care plan and contact named nurse if have concerns

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please contact NHS 111 - dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit

Your child may be diagnosed with one of the below conditions that requires no medical attention:

Here are links for further information:

Breath holding attacks:

Simple faint:

Reflex anoxic seizures:

Night terrors:

Sleep myoclonus (Brief jerks of one or more limbs. Occurs only in sleep. No treatment needed)

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, contact NHS 111 – dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit

What to do if your child remains unconscious

 If your child remains unconscious place your child on their side until help arrives as seen below.

  • Place them in the recovery position – on their side, on a soft surface with their face turned to one side. This will stop them swallowing any vomit and keep their airway protected.
  • Stay with your child and try to jot down what time their seizure starts and stops.
  • Do not put anything in your child’s mouth.
  • If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes seek immediate medical help – call 999 or go to the nearest A&E.
  • If the seizure lasts less than 5 minutes – phone your GP or NHS 111 for advice if you’re worried.child recovery position.jpg
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