Strokes can Happen at any Age


What is Pediatric Stroke Infographic

Link to PDF (Downloadable)

Text Version of Strokes Can Happen at any Age

Strokes can happen at any age – Pediatric stroke can happen in infants, children and even before birth.

Perinatal Stroke – Last few months of pregnancy to 1-month-old The cause in most perinatal strokes remains unknown.

Risk factors that could lead to stroke include:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Disorders of the placenta
  • Blood clotting disorders 
  • Infections [e.g. Meningitis]

Signs of a perinatal stroke may go unrecognized for months or years because the signs can be subtle.


  • Seizures may be an early sign
  • Repetitive twitching of face, arm or leg
  • Apnea [ pauses in breathing] associated with staring Developing children
  • Decreased movement or weakness on one side of the body
  • Showing a hand preference, or consistently reaching out with only one hand before 1 year of age


  • Quick recognition – Prompt medical evaluation and treatment

Babies: Early diagnosis – Rehabilitation treatment can start while a young brain is still developing

Childhood Stroke – 1-month-old to 18 years

Risk factors in children do not equal risk factors in older adults

Risk factors for children include:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Diseases affecting the brain’s arteries

Infections affecting the brain or other organs

  • Head trauma
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Autoimmune disorders

No previous risk factor is identified in about half of childhood stroke cases.

Warning signs are often missed in children because there is a lack of awareness that strokes can happen in this age group.

Stroke sings – FAST [Face drooping/Arm weakness/Speech difficulty/time to call 911]

Additional signs in children include:

  • Severe sudden headache, especially with vomiting and sleepiness
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or understanding others
  • Vision loss or double vision
  • Severe dizziness or loss of coordination

New-onset of seizures usually on one side of the body DON’T DELAY! Prompt diagnosis and treatment of stroke in children is as critical as it is in adults.

Learn more at and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Together to End Stroke