How Can I Detect Seizures in My Child When I’m not there?

Can I Detect Seizures in My Child When I’m Not There?

As a pediatric epilepsy specialist, one of the most common questions I get is whether parents can detect their child’s seizure if they aren’t physically with them. It can cause many parents to want to sleep in the same room with their child or not let them out of their sight for sleepovers and other fun activities. This is not recommended, as research suggests that hovering can have negative effects on these children.

Until recently, there were not many products that could be used to watch for seizures. Many parents end up using baby monitors with or without video support. However, that is not fool-proof and shown not to work in many cases. What if the child does not make a sound or is not seen by the video? A parent or caregiver could not possibly watch the video the whole time!

Other devices use movement to identify seizures. Two products are smartwatches and Emfit ™ mattress pad. However, not all seizures include movement. Most recently, a product called Embrace ™ has been developed that uses movement, sweat, and heart rate to detect seizures. It has shown decent success in its abilities. It won’t capture all seizures, because some patients have none of those symptoms. It is now available for purchase, but it does not have other features that people currently like in these watch-like devices, such as fitness monitoring, games and access to email.

We partnered and published a paper with seizuretracker.com ™ to see what patients and caregivers want in a device. There are other features such as muscle twitches and oxygen saturation that people thought would be important parts of seizure detection. It would be nice for caregivers, patients, and parents to be able to have additional product choices.

Wouldn’t it be better if someone could buy an existing watch and tailor it to detect seizures?

Wouldn’t it be better if a product was out there that is patient centered?

Developers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital built an Apple Watch™ app to work with the seizure tracker program “Track It” that is available for iPhones™ and Android™ products. Now people who have an Apple Watch, or other watch with similar capabilities, can start tracking their loved one’s seizures without having to locate their phone. It is all there on their watch! We were able to build this for the folks at Seizure tracker as we feel it will help patients record and track seizures.

For more information about the Epilepsy Center at Nationwide Children’s, click here, follow us on Facebook, or listen to our PediaCast.

Disclaimer: Any reference herein to any vendor, product or services by trade name, trademark, or manufacturer or otherwise is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or approval.

Anup D. Patel, MD
Anup Patel, MD, works as an attending physician in the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital. He has a focus on medical management of complicated epilepsy. He is the father of a five year old boy and six month old daughter. In his free time, he loves listening to music and watching sports. Follow Dr. Patel on Twitter @PedsEpilepsyDoc where he shares helpful epilepsy information and helps spread awareness!

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