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Level of Consciousness in Children

Level of Consciousness in Children

Level of consciousness is a measure of a child's ability to interact with other people and react to his or her surroundings. A decreased level of consciousness may point to a serious health problem.

Symptoms of a decreased level of consciousness in a young child include:

  • Extreme irritability for more than 3 hours. The child cannot be calmed by holding, rocking, or feeding.
  • Extreme sleepiness and difficulty waking up.
  • Limpness and poor, weak muscle tone. A child older than 3 months of age may not move for an extended period of time or may not show any desire to move.
  • Weak or feeble cry.
  • Lack of response to touch or voice.
  • Inability to suck for two or more feedings in a row.
  • Vacant or blank stare. Children older than 3 months of age may not make eye contact or may show other signs of confusion or disorientation.
  • Unequal movement, strength, and activity of the arms or legs.

Last Revised: April 5, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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