5 Do’s & 1 Don’t For Your Toddler’s EEG

EEG or Electroencephalography. Wow doesn’t sound any better when you write it out does it? I see the word electro which looks like electricity and I’m both picturing my little angel in an electric chair which I’m convinced will end with him wielding powers belonging to a Spiderman villain.

EEG electro

We recently had to get an in-hospital EEG done for Bear to attempt to get the root of his seizures and make sure there is nothing more sinister going on. It took a little over an hour, and wasn’t any where near as scary as I thought it would be. Prior to going I sought advice from basically everyone I know, and some of the best tips to get through it are below. I’m definitely not pretending to be an expert here, but these helped us get through meltdown free, which considering Bear hates people touching his head/ears is a damn miracle.

The Process

EEG Bear Toddler

Your little one will sit in your lap and have their head measured. The tech will then draw on their head with a crayon to mark where the Electrodes will go. I also got my head drawn on to make Bear laugh. He thought it was hilarious and kept touching my forehead instead of getting cranky about being touched.

Next comes the gluing. It’s critical to not let them touch their head because if they dislodge the electrodes even a tiny bit they will have to be re-done. Having Bear’s dad there really helped as I we each held a tiny hand captive to stop him from yanking. Bear required around 21 electrodes which meant the process took a little under a half hour.

Once everything is hooked up, they will get bubs to look at some lights which will flash, kind of like a camera. We asked to delay this until after the nap because Bear was already a bit grumpy, so if you are in the same boat, ask the question.

And then we wait. If you need baby to sleep, now’s the time. Request that the tech turn lights down, TV off – basically get them to do anything you need to get that little one either chilled or sleeping. The tech will leave the room for about 40 minutes (one sleep cycle). They have a camera trained on baby while they are hooked in, so they need to stay in the camera’s line of sight.

5 Do’s and 1 Don’t

DO make sure your child is fed and relatively happy before going in. They may need to be a bit tired if a sleep is requested. Having them sleep through it is also a lot easier than having to stop them from yanking things off their head.

DO try and take someone else with you. It makes a stressful situation so much easier.

DO ask if a DVD player is available and bring a favourite movie or TV show. The process to stick the little thingies to their head can take upwards of an hour, and it really helps if they keep still. Our room had a constant stream of ABC Kids going that worked really well to keep Bear happy.

DO make sure to bring snacks, dummies, bottles, bring the kitchen sink if it will keep your little one happy and calm. They may need to have a sleep while there, so bring anything that you need to facilitate that. Our tech commented on the lovely ocean sounds we used to get Bear chilled out.

DO wash your little ones hair the night before, but don’t condition or put in any styling junk. Makes it easy to glue the little disks onto their head. Good luck getting the glue off – it’s the worst 🙁 Bear kept picking it out of his hair and trying to eat it like a monkey.

DON’T let them fiddle with the wires or even touch their head. Our little Houdini started trying to remove them before they even got them glued on. If we hadn’t been watching him, I honestly think he would have ripped them right out regardless of how much it hurt. They will offer you a hat to keep them on, but we went straight for the bandage as you can see in the stylish picture above. Once it was in place he was pretty comfortable and drifted right off to sleep.

Linkage

I found the below links the most helpful to get some clear information about what I was getting myself in for:

https://www.unitypoint.org/peoria/services-pediatric-eeg.aspx
http://www.wonderbaby.org/articles/eeg
http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Electroencephalography_EEG/

It’s wierd to write a blog post and say you hope no-one needs to read it. If you did need this, I hope it helped.  I wish you and your little person the best of luck and send you all my love.

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6 comments

  1. My son had to have a sleep study done when he was around 3 years old which involved having electrodes glued to his head too. Not a ball of fun but we survived a whole night (although I didn’t get much sleep…). Distraction is definitely key to a successful test!

    1. Definitely! I was so glad we only had to be there for a couple hours, can only imagine what a whole night would be like.

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