(sometimes called fever convulsions or febrile seizures) can
occur in children who have a rapid increase in body temperature. You may not
even know that your child has a fever. The rapid increase in body temperature in a
short period of time may happen at the same time as the fever seizure. After a fever has reached a
high temperature, the risk of a seizure is probably over. Most children who
have a fever seizure have temperatures above
seizure is likely to be fever-related if:
There is one seizure in a 24-hour period.
The seizure lasted less than 15 minutes.
The seizure affected the entire body, not just one side of the
The child is between 6 months and 5 years
The child does not have nervous system (neurological)
The child has had fever seizures before.
Fever seizures can
be frightening but they are not usually harmful to the child and do not cause
long-term problems, such as brain damage,
intellectual disabilities, or learning
Fever seizures affect 2% to 5% of children.
Children can have another seizure. The chance of another fever seizure varies
with age, but about 30% to 50% will have another within a year of the first
one. These seizures are not a form of
A child who is having a seizure
consciousness and shakes, moving his or her arms and
legs on both sides of the body. The child's eyes may roll back. The child may
stop breathing for a few seconds and might also vomit, urinate, or pass stools.
It is important to
protect the child from injury during a seizure.
Fever seizures usually last 1 to 3 minutes. After the seizure, the child
may be sleepy. You can let the child sleep, but check him or her frequently for
changes in color or breathing, or for twitching arms or legs. The child also may
seem confused after the seizure, but normal behavior and activity level should
return within 60 minutes of the seizure.
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Protect your child from injury
during a seizure:
Ease the child to the floor, or lay a very small
child facedown on your lap. Do not restrain the child.
child onto his or her side, which will help clear the mouth of any vomit or
saliva. This will help keep the tongue from blocking the air passage so the
child can breathe. Keeping the head and chin forward (in the same position as
when you sniff a flower) also will help keep the air passage
Do not put anything in the
child's mouth to prevent tongue-biting. This could cause
Try to stay calm, which will help calm the child. Comfort
the child with quiet, soothing talk.
Time the length of the seizure
and pay close attention to the child's behavior during the seizure so you can
describe it to your child's doctor.
Check your child for injuries after the seizure:
If the child is having trouble breathing, turn
his or her head to the side and, using your finger, gently clear the mouth of
any vomit or saliva to aid breathing.
If the child does
not need to see a doctor right away, put him or her in a cool room
to sleep. Sleepiness is common following a seizure. Check on the child often.
Normal behavior and activity level should return within 60 minutes of the
If your child has had a fever seizure in the past and you have
talked with your child's doctor about how to care for your child after a
seizure, be sure to follow the doctor's instructions.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.