Between 2-4 percent of infants aged 6 months to 5 roughly years will have a febrile seizure at some point. The seizures are caused by the child overheating (either as a result of a fever or from wearing too many layers in a warm environment). The child will become unconscious. They may go rigid, their eyes might roll back and often they will twitch down one side of their body. They may also stop breathing for up to 30 seconds. The fit usually lasts less than 3 minutes and never more than 5 minutes.


As you can imagine, it is extremely frightening for the parent to witness but it is important to remember the child will have no memory of the seizure and provided they are treated in the correct manner, no lasting effect.


What to do if your child has a febrile convulsion:

  • Call for help – ask anyone else who is with you to get you a bowl of tepid water, open the windows/doors and grab the phone (should you need to call the emergency services). Make a note of the time they started to fit.
  • Ensure they are safe – place them onto a towel and remove their clothing. Don’t hold them down or place anything in their mouth.
  • To bring their temperature down, cool the room, loosen their clothing, and give paracetamol or ibuprofen according to the instructions.
  • Once they have stopped fitting, place them onto their side (in the recovery position).
  • Your child may need to be treated or investigated in hospital to rule out

problems other than a febrile convulsion, especially if this is their first seizure.

  • If the child has been fitting for 3 minutes or it’s their first seizure, then call 999 for an ambulance and continue to monitor their breathing.



febrile convulsions

Disclaimer: All content within First Aid for Schools is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.