A report published in The Lancet suggests that deaths from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death In Epilepsy) are extremely rare amongst children.
Researchers from Halifax Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, investigated 692 children who had been diagnosed with epilepsy between 1977 and 1985.
Of these there were 26 deaths, 22 were not unexpected - the report authors noting that there appeared to be "disorders sufficient to cause functional neurological deficit". Of the remaining four, only one was deemed to have died by "probable sudden unexpected death in epilepsy", and in addition to her epilepsy, the woman who died also had tuberous sclerosis and a mild mental disorder.
The report concludes that:
"Our results should offer reassurance to most families who have a child with epilepsy. If such children have no other serious disorder sufficient to cause functional neurological deficit, their risk of death is very close to that of the general population. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy is very rare."