Febrile Convulsion

It is possible when some children have a fever they may have a febrile convulsion (seizure). This happens when there is a sudden rise in your child’s temperature.

  • 1 in 30 children will have a febrile convulsion.
  • Between 6 months and 6 years.
  • Febrile convulsions are not harmful, do not cause brain damage and there is no increased risk of developing epilepsy. 
  • Febrile convulsions are distressing for a parent to witness.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Child can go red or blue in the face.
  • Muscles will stiffen or jerk.
  • The convulsion may last a few minutes before the movement stops.
  • The child may be sleepy and irritable afterwards.





You cannot stop the convulsion but you can do the following to assist your child:

  • Ensure your child is in a safe environment. Preferably a soft surface to protect them.
  • Do not try and restrain your child (eg: stop the jerking).
  • Do not put anything in their mouth (including your fingers), they will not swallow their tongue.
  • Leave your child on their back, if you are concerned with vomiting, place them onto their side (recovery position).
  • Time the length of the convulsion.
  • Watch what happens, this information is important to relay onto the medical professionals.

What to do if the convulsion occurs in a car seat, pram or wheelchair:

  • If they are in a car seat or pram and safely secured leave them there and gently support their head.
  • Place them in the recovery position when the convulsion has stopped.

If the convulsion stops in under 5 minutes you should have them seen by a doctor.  If they were unwell before the convulsion you should have them seen by an emergency department.

You should call an ambulance on 000 if your child’s convulsion:

  • Lasts more than five minutes.
  • They are non responsive after the convulsion stops.
  • They are extremely unwell after the convulsion stops.
  • If you are concerned at all you should always seek medical advice via your doctor or in an emergency call 000.

If your child has had a long convulsion they may be observed in hospital for a while. After a convulsion your child may be a little cranky for the first few days. Most children do not have any long-term health problems after febrile convulsions and normally grow out of them by the age of 6.  If your child has repeated convulsions they may need to visit a paediatrician.

We recommend watching this febrile convulsions clip on YouTube.  Studies suggest seeing a medical emergency in a ‘non stressful’ situation, has proven to aid a real life event. 


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