Can a Child Have a Stroke? Yes, and here is what to Look For

May 19 • 2016

One of the most common myths about strokes is that they only effect older adults. The truth is, a person of any age can suffer from a stroke. While they are more frequent in children under the age of two, pediatric strokes can occur before and after that age as well. Knowing what to look for can help you identify an issue as quickly as possible.

Risk Factors of Strokes in Children
There are several risk factors that can contribute to the likelihood of a child experiencing a stroke. In an adult, things like an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and hardened arteries are commonly associated with strokes. In children, these conditions are rare. Instead, their risk factors include:

  • History of maternal infertility
  • Immune disorders
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Abnormal blood clotting
  • Artery disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Neck or head trauma
  • Infection in the fluid surrounding an unborn baby
  • Maternal high blood pressure related to pregnancy
  • Early breaking of the membrane during pregnancy

Pediatric Stroke Symptoms
The signs of a stroke are often missed in children because many people don’t expect their child will have one. While you can look for the typical adult stroke symptoms, there are some other, more particular signs that you should be aware of.

In newborns and infants, signs of a stroke include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Propensity to use one side of his body

For children over the age of two, be aware of symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Extreme headaches
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Vision loss
  • Difficulty speaking

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, be sure to visit the doctor immediately. Remember that a stroke can occur at any age and reacting early can help promote healing.