Electroencephalogram (EEG) For Children Under 1 Year

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY-755/2016
  • Departments: Neurophysiology


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your child’s test.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.  If after reading it you 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?

An EEG will be performed by a clinical physiologist. EEG is the abbreviation of electroencephalogram, which is the recording of electrical activity produced by the brain. The activity is recorded on a computer and a video recording of your child is made at the same time.

Why does my child need an EEG?

An EEG can help explain fits, seizures or other conditions affecting the brain and is a tool to help your child’s doctor in making a diagnosis.

Can there be any complications or risks?

Occasionally it may not be possible to settle your child sufficiently to record an EEG. If this happens the physiologists will discuss the options with you which may include a further appointment when we would sedate your child prior to the EEG.

Do I need to do anything before the test?

  • You may like to bring another adult such as partner, grandparent or friend to help you entertain your child during the test. Wherever possible we ask that you refrain from bringing other children with you as we have limited space and they can often be a distraction.
  • Please wash your child’s hair before you come to the hospital and do not use any hair products (gel, wax etc) on them.
  • Give your child their medication as normal unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • Allow your child to eat and drink as normal.
  • Please bring a list of any current medication your child is taking.
  • Please bring your child’s favourite toy or comforter with them to provide distraction.
  • Please bring a bottle of juice or milk. If your child is due a feed around the time of the appointment please delay the feed until arrival if possible as having a feed may help your child settle or fall asleep during the investigation.
  • If your child is due a nap around the appointment time please if possible try and postpone this until they arrive in the department as this may make it easier for them to settle.

On your arrival in the department we will obtain your consent for the procedure before the investigation begins.

What will happen during the test?

  • The physiologist performing the EEG will explain the test to you and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
  • A discussion will take place to decide on the best way to help your child settle during the test. This may be sitting on your knee, lying in your arms, lying on a bed or in a car seat or buggy depending on your child.
  • Several small electrodes will be applied to your child’s head using sticky paste. Prior to this their head will be rubbed with some gritty paste to obtain a good contact with their skin. An elastic net or bandage may be placed over your child’s head to secure them in place.
  • Once the electrode application is complete the recording will commence.
  • The recording will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Occasionally children are unable to settle sufficiently for the examination to be performed. If this happens the physiologist will discuss with you what happens next.

Is an EEG examination painful?

No, this is a painless test.

How long will the test take?

The entire test will take between 60-75 minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • 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.
  • There are no after effects from this test.
  • The results will go back to your child’s doctor. This usually takes about two weeks.

What happens afterwards?

Once you have left the department the recording will be reviewed by the physiologist and then by a member of the medical team 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 or 675388.

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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