Febrile seizures

A febrile seizure, or febrile convulsion, is a fit/seizure which happens when a child's body temperature is raised. Febrile seizures are common and often affect children aged between 18 months and 3 years.

Most febrile seizures occur when the child has a common illness such as an ear infection or cold.

Signs and symptoms

The child will have a seizure, which may involve:

  • The child becomes unresponsive
  • The body becomes stiff and may start jerking/twitching
  • They wet themselves

Most febrile seizures only last for around 5 minutes.

First aid treatment

1) Record the time the seizure started

2) Place the child on their side, preferably on a soft surface

3) Remove any hazards from around the child

4) Remove any excessive clothing to help cool the child

Do not place anything in the child's mouth whilst they are having the seizure

You should seek routine medical advice after each seizure.

You should seek emergency medical help if:

  • You are concerned
  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes
  • The child has multiple seizures
  • The child has abnormal breathing or an obstructed airway
  • There are signs of a serious illness such as meningitis

Video: First aid for febrile seizures

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid & CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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