Treating Migraine Headaches in Children

Call 911 if:

  • You can't wake up the child.
  • The child has slurred speech, confusion, weakness in limbs, or trouble walking.
  • The headache is the worst the child's ever had.

1. Treat Symptoms

If migraine headaches have already been diagnosed by your child's pediatrician, treat as follows. Any other headaches need to be evaluated by the doctor.

  • Apply cool compress to forehead.
  • Have the child take deep, calming breaths.
  • Have the child lie down in a cool, dark room.

2. When to Seek Medical Help

  • See a doctor if the headache comes back, gets worse, or lasts more than 12 hours.
  • If your child's head was injured prior to the headache, see a doctor.
  • If you feel that your child is not looking well or are concerned, see your child's doctor.


3. Follow Up

If you seek medical help:

  • The doctor will do an exam and may recommend medications, stress reduction techniques, or lifestyle changes to help prevent future migraines.
  • For severe headache with stiff neck and other symptoms, the doctor will examine the child for meningitis or other serious illnesses.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 19, 2019



HealthyChildren: "Headache."

HealthyChildren: "Meningitis."

Cleveland Clinic: "Migraines in Children and Adolescents."

American Headache Society: "Headaches in Children."

American Headache Society: "Headaches in Kids: What Parents Can Do."

KidsHealth: "Headache."

Migraine Headache in Children Information from eMedicineHealth.

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