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 old. The older your child is when they have their first febrile seizure, the less likely they are to have more. If a family member (sibling, parent, aunt or uncle, grandparent) has had 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).
- Their body will stiffen.
- Their eyes will roll upward and their head and limbs (arms, legs) will be jerky.
- They may briefly lose consciousness.
Most febrile seizures last between 30 seconds and 2 minutes and have no long-term effects.
What can I do?
- Stay calm.
- Place your child on a flat surface, on their side. Do not move them unless they are near something dangerous. Do not hold them own.
- Wipe away any vomit or saliva outside the mouth, but do not put anything between their teeth.
- When the seizure stops, keep your child on their side.
- Allow your child to sleep after the seizure and wake them 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 old.
- Visit your doctor for a physical exam to rule out any other problems within a few hours of any seizure, even a brief one.
More information from the CPS:
Reviewed by the following CPS committees:
- Public Education Advisory Committee
Last Updated: August 2018