Febrile Convulsions - what do you need to know.

A baby or young child who's convulsing is always very worrying for the parents or carers. Here's an explanation and some tips on what to do - please feel free to copy and paste or forward this blog.

Febrile convulsions usually last less than five minutes and often happen on the first day of an illness. Sometimes the convulsion is the first sign the child is ill.

Febrile convulsions are fits (seizures) that sometimes happen to a child with a high temperature caused by illness or fever. Febrile convulsions usually happen to children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years old. Only about 3% of children will fit but when it does happen it can be very frightening, especially if it looks like an epileptic fit.

Febrile convulsions sometimes happen when an illness or fever causes the child or babies temperature to raise above 38c (100.4f) which is defined as a high temperature. Your skin acts like a radiator for temperature control. A child or baby has less skin area than an adult and as such has less ability to control their temperature.

Symptoms may include: child looks hot and flushed, dazed look and may lose consciousness, child's mussels may tighten, they may moan or cry out, the muscles may twitch, the child may be sweating with a very hot forehead, the child may stiffen and arch their back, fists may clench, they may lose control of their bladder or bowel and may fall into a deep sleep afterwards.

What to do: Don't panic and always monitor the child's lifeline. Place them in a safe area (the floor) and let them convulse. Strip or loosen the child's clothing but do NOT sponge or bathe them, just fan them to cool them. Never put anything in the child mouth and never restrict the seizure. When the convulsion abates, place them in the recovery position, this will ensure the airway is kept open if they are sick. The convulsion usually stops when the baby's temperature returns to normal.

If it's your child's first seizure, or it lasts longer than five minutes, take them to the nearest hospital as soon as possible, or dial 999/112 for an ambulance (or local EMS). While it's unlikely that there's anything seriously wrong, it's best to be sure.

If your child has had febrile seizures before and the seizure lasts for less than five minutes, phone your GP or NHS 111 or a local medical facility for advice.

If you want to know more about first aid courses for children, then please email

Thank you for reading my blog!

© Kim Ronaldson


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