Electroencephalogram (EEG) For Children

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-755/2023
  • Departments: Neurophysiology
  • Last Updated: 29 March 2023


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your child’s procedure.  Most of your, or your child’s, questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your child’s doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.  If after reading it you or your child have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for your child.

What is an EEG?

EEG is the abbreviation of electroencephalogram, which is the recording of electrical activity produced by the brain.  It can help to explain fits or seizures and is a tool to help your doctor in making a diagnosis.  The activity is recorded on a computer and a video recording of your child is made at the same time.

Can there be any complications or risks?

  • Very occasionally people may experience a slight local reaction at the electrode site. This may cause reddening and soreness.  These symptoms resolve quickly on removal of the electrodes.  If your child experiences these symptoms, please inform the staff attending to your child.
  • In some people there is a very small chance that the activation procedures performed (deep breathing or flashing light) could result in a seizure.  In the very unlikely event that your child does have an epileptic seizure.
  • The clinical physiologist will ask you and your child if you are happy to include the deep breathing and flashing lights as part of the test and if so you will be asked to sign a consent form.

How do I prepare my child for the EEG?

  • Please read the information leaflet. Share the information it contains with your family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support.  There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of your child during/following this examination.
  • Please wash your child’s hair before coming to the hospital and do not use any hair products (gel, hairspray etc.).
  • Give your child their medication as normal unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • Your child can eat as normal.
  • Please bring a list of any current medication your child is taking.

What will happen?

  • On your child’s arrival in the department, we will confirm your child’s identity and obtain your consent for the activation procedures before your child’s investigation begins.
  • The clinical physiologist performing the EEG will explain the test to you/your child and will be happy to answer any questions you/your child may have.
  • You will be asked some questions about the condition leading to your child’s referral for an EEG.
  • Your child will be asked to sit on a chair and the clinical physiologist will measure your child head and apply the electrodes using a gritty gel, sticky paste and some tape.
  • Once the electrode application is complete, your child will be move to lie comfortably on the bed and the recording will commence. Your child will not feel anything during the recording apart from the electrodes resting on their head.
  • The recording will take approximately 30 minutes and during this period there will be times when your child’s eyes are open and times when they are closed. At the start of the recording your child may be asked to perform some eye movements to calibrate the machine.
  • During the test your child will be asked to breathe deeply for a short time.
  • For part of the test the physiologist will ask your child to watch a flashing light.
  • The entire procedure will take approximately 60-75 minutes.

What happens afterwards?

  • The electrodes will be removed and your child’s head cleaned with warm water.  You may wish to bring a brush or comb with you to tidy your child’s hair.  Any residue of paste can be removed by shampooing the hair.
  • Once you and your child have left the department the recording will be reviewed by the physiologist and then by a member of the medical team or a senior physiologist who will send a report to the doctor who referred your child for the EEG.
  • This usually takes up to two weeks.


Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Neurophysiology  Department on:

Tel: (01482) 675339 / 675318

This leaflet was produced by the Neurophysiology Department, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in March 2026.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats your child, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to your child. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your child’s condition, the alternatives available for your child, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about your child

We collect and use your child’s information to provide your child with care and treatment. As part of your child’s care, information about your child will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your child’s information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide your child with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your child’s doctor, or the person caring for your child.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you need information about your child’s (or a child you care for) health and wellbeing and their care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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