Minnesota Stroke Association

Stroke is Not Just An Adult Condition

Children's strokes are more often caused by:

  • Birth defects
  • Infections (eg, meningitis, encephalitis)
  • Trauma
  • Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease

Infants and Stroke

A stroke can occur in an infant as early as in the womb or uterus. While in the womb, a baby needs oxygen-rich blood so that its brain can develop and grow. When a stroke occurs, the blood and oxygen do not flow to all parts of the brain, causing damage in the growing brain.

Babies who have strokes in the womb or within the first month of life are especially at risk for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy describes a group of permanent disorders of the development of movement and posture, causing activity limitation.

Motor disorders are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, perception, cognition, communication and behavior, by epilepsy, and by secondary musculoskeletal problems.

Stroke and Kids

Incidence of stroke in children ages 15 years and younger is about six cases in every 100,000 children per year. Strokes are slightly more common in children under the age of two. On average, it takes 12 to 24 hours for adults to get to the hospital after recognizing the first symptom of stroke. That time increases to 48 to 72 hours for children.