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 911 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.
Source: Well Beings: A Guide to Health in Child Care (3rd edition)
More information from the CPS:
Reviewed by the following CPS committees:
- Public Education Advisory Committee
Last Updated: December 2013