possible cause Drug or solvent abuse may cause drowsiness or confusion.

action Watch your child carefully while he or she seems confused or drowsy. If your child becomes unconscious, call an ambulance. While waiting for help, follow the first-aid procedure for unconsciousness (p.300). Delay discussing the problem with your child until he or she is well enough to understand. If you think your child is becoming dependent on drugs, consult your doctor. Advice and support is also available from many self-help groups (see Useful addresses, p.311).


Children vary greatly in their levels of manual dexterity, physical coordination, and agility. Some children naturally acquire these skills later than others. They have difficulty in carrying out delicate tasks, such as tying shoelaces, and may often accidentally knock things over. Such clumsiness is unlikely to be a sign of an underlying disease, although poor vision can be an unrecognized cause. Severe clumsiness that has come on suddenly or that follows a head injury may result from a serious problem with the nervous system and needs urgent medical attention.

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