Febrile seizures are common among children age six months to six years old. During the seizure your child:

  • may be unresponsive
  • become stiff
  • arms and legs may start to twitch or jerk
  • eyes may roll back.

The seizure usually only lasts a minute or two (although it can seem like much longer) and usually will stop on its own. After the jerking or stiffness stops, your child will usually sleep for a while, up to an hour, and some kids will appear to be upset and then become sleepy.

What to do if your child has a seizure

Watching your child have a febrile seizure can be very scary, especially if it's the first time. Many parents think their child is dying during the seizure, but kids do not die during febrile seizures.

The most important thing is to keep your child safe while they are having a seizure.

Here are some tips to help keep your tamariki safe:

  • lie them down on their side
  • loosen clothes around the face and neck
  • wait a few minutes for the seizure to stop - check the time if you can to see how long the seizure lasted.

Do not put anything in your child's mouth (they will not swallow their tongue), or put them in the bath/shower to cool them down.

When to visit a doctor

Take your child to see a doctor after the seizure finishes.

Most children are sleepy after a seizure, but if they are especially hard to wake, or if you are worried about them see a doctor urgently.

When to call 111

Dial 111 and ask for urgent medical help if:

  • the seizure lasts longer than five minutes
  • your child is having trouble breathing
  • your child looks very unwell
  • your child is not waking up and responding after the seizure.
Febrile seizures


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