Febrile convulsions

A febrile convulsion is a convulsion that can occur with a fever.

Many infections can cause fevers in children, in some children the fever triggers a convulsion. Febrile convulsions are common and can also called fever fits or febrile seizures. Febrile convulsions are a common childhood problem.

They are not the same as epilepsy.

Key points:

  • Any time a child feels too hot (temperature is 38.3C or higher) seek medical advice and assistance from a GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116
  • They are usually caused by a fever with a viral infection
  • They look scary, but rarely cause long-term problems
  • The most important thing is to try and keep calm, and lie your child down on their side, in the recovery position, until the convulsion is finished
  • Dial 111 and ask for urgent medical help if the convulsion lasts more than five minutes, or if your child has trouble breathing, or you are worried
  • You should get your child checked by a doctor afterwards to find the cause of the fever
  • When your child is having a convulsion do not put anything in their mouth and do not put them in the bath to cool down.

For more information and press releases related to Influenza and vaccination visit the Ministry of Health website.


For help and advice call PlunketLine 0800 933 922, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If your child is sick please call Healthline, 0800 611 116, New Zealand's 24-hour telephone health advice service. All calls are answered by registered nurses.
In an emergency phone 111.
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