Children with Dravet syndrome experience multiple, prolonged seizures that may occur in clusters. As these often happen unpredictably, patients are at risk of injury should they happen when they are alone.
Having seizure alarms and safety devices can help minimize the risk of injuries associated with seizures in Dravet syndrome.
Types of seizure alert systems
Seizure alert systems work by detecting a seizure and notifying a caregiver so they can help the patient. The following is a list of different types of seizure alert systems:
- Smartwatches such as the Smartwatch or the Embrace watch;
- Bed alarms that can detect seizures during sleep such as Emfit and Companion;
- Sensors that detect seizure movement through video such as the SAMi monitor;
- Mobile phone apps such as Epdetect.
Besides these, other systems such as a small fall alarm kept on the body at all times may be useful in alerting someone in case of a fall. GPS trackers are useful in the case of children with Dravet syndrome who are prone to wandering. Baby monitors can also help caregivers keep an eye on their child.
Choosing a seizure alert system
Every seizure alert system has its pros and cons. Before buying one, caregivers should consider a few of the following factors:
- What type of seizures does it detect?
- When would the seizures need to be detected — while awake, asleep, or both?
- How does the device detect seizures? A majority of systems are based on movement, although a few take sound and heart rate into consideration.
- How sensitive is the device? What is the likelihood of false alarms?
- Who will the device alert in the event of a seizure? Will it be someone staying with the patient or someone at a remote area?
- How much does it cost?
Other safety devices
Besides alarm systems, there are other types of useful equipment that can enhance safety during a seizure. The simplest of these is a helmet, which is especially important in children who frequently fall because of seizures.
Anti-suffocation pillows are special pillows that are built to have large air channels for good ventilation, preventing suffocation should children end up face-down during or after a seizure. These pillows may help prevent SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy).
Seizure alert dogs are trained to detect an oncoming seizure and to warn its partner or a caregiver, giving them time to take safety precautions such as lying down or leaving crowded areas. These dogs are able to detect a seizure by up to an hour before it actually happens.
Another vital safety device is a medical identification tag, usually in the form of a bracelet or necklace. This tag contains key information such as the person’s condition, the likely duration of the seizures, and who to contact in case of an emergency.
Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.