Electroencephalography, Child

This is a test which records the electrical activity (brain waves) in your child's brain. It gives information about how your child's brain is working. It is typically required for children who have seizures, sleeping problems, behavioral disturbances, or other issues related to brain activity. It cannot read your child's thoughts, ideas, or knowledge. The EEG is performed in the hospital setting or in a clinic by an EEG technologist. An EEG may be done over a short period of time, lasting a few hours, or a longer period lasting from 3 to 7 days.


  • Ensure your child's hair is clean and dry.

  • Do not use hair spray, oils, or tease or braid your child's hair the day of the test.

  • Make sure your child has his or her regular medicine unless your caregiver has instructed otherwise.

  • Have your child eat regularly unless instructed otherwise.

  • Avoid giving your child caffeine at least four hours prior to test.

  • If your child's caregiver has ordered a "sleep deprived EEG", you may be asked to help your child sleep less or stay awake the night before the procedure.

  • Other special instructions may be given.


Your child will be seated in a comfortable chair or placed in a patient bed. Small metal discs called electrodes will be attached to your child's head with an adhesive (like glue). These electrodes pick up the electrical activity of the brain and are amplified in the electroencephalograph machine. These signals are then printed out on paper. There may be minor, very minimal discomfort associated with electrode placement. You can assist the technologist in helping keep your child comfortable by using distraction techniques such as reading a book, singing, or other methods which calm your child.


  • Lie quietly and relax.

  • Open and close your eyes.

  • Breathe deeply for three minutes.

  • Look at a flashing light for a short period of time.


This is a complex test that may take some time to interpret. You will not find out the results on the day of the test. The electrodes will be removed with a solvent solution such as acetone or fingernail polish remover. Your child may then return to normal activities.

A nerve disorder specialist (neurologist) will interpret your child's test and send a report to your caregiver. Find out how you are to receive your results. Remember it is your responsibility to obtain your results. Do not assume that everything is normal simply because you have not heard from your caregiver.