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Reduced consciousness

If your baby, child or teenager is unresponsive or less responsive than usual, this could mean they have reduced consciousness. Reduced consciousness can be a sign of a brain tumour.

How can I tell if my baby, child or teenager has reduced consciousness?

At any age, reduced consciousness can involve:

  • reduced response to pain – your baby, child or teenager may not open their eyes, flinch, withdraw, grimace nor respond verbally when they would otherwise do so
  • reduced response to a person's voice – e.g. they do not open their eyes when called
  • whimpering or moaning
  • making incomprehensible sounds
  • appearing confused and unable to find the right words to use
  • being unable to be roused from sleep – this indicates that the reduced consciousness is serious.

Reduced consciousness in your baby, child or teenager could be caused by a serious illness, so it's important for them to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you think your child has reduced consciousness, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

I think my child has a brain tumour, what should I do?

Brain tumours are rare, however, if you're worried, if a symptom persists or if your child has more than one of these symptoms then:

  • Talk to your doctor
    GP appointments are usually quite short, find out how to best prepare for your appointment
  • Get an eye test
    If your child's symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get their eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.