Febrile Seizures

What are Febrile Seizures?

Febrile seizures are convulsions caused by fever. They happen in 2 to 5% of children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. The older your child is when he has his first febrile seizure, the less likely he will be to have more. If a family member (sibling, parent, aunt or uncle, grandparent) has febrile seizures, your child may be more prone to them.


How will I know if my child is having a febrile seizure?

Often the seizure is the first sign of your baby’s fever. It can be scary to see but they aren’t as dangerous as they look.

  • Your child will have a fever higher than 38⁰C (100.4⁰F)
  • Her body will stiffen.
  • Her eyes will roll upward and her head and limbs (arms, legs) will be jerky.
  • She may briefly lose consciousness.

Most febrile seizures last between 30 seconds and 2 minutes and don’t have any long term effects.

What can parents do?

  • Stay calm.
  • Place your child on a flat surface on his side. Do not move him unless he is near something dangerous. Do not restrain him (hold him down).
  • Wipe away any vomit or saliva outside his mouth, but do not put anything between his teeth.
  • After the seizure stops, keep your child on his side.
  • Allow him to sleep after the seizure and wake him up gradually.

When should I call the doctor?

Call an ambulance or rush to nearby emergency room if the seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes or if your baby is younger than 6 months.
Visit your doctor for a physical exam to rule out any other problems within a few hours of any seizure, even a brief one.
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