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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Febrile convulsions

A febrile convulsion (or febrile seizure) is when a tamaiti (child) has a seizure (also called convulsion or fit) because they have a fever. This is usually when their temperature is 38°C or higher.

Febrile convulsions mostly happen in tamariki (children) aged from 6 month to 5 years. They're fairly common, in most cases aren't serious and seldom causes any long-term problems.

Symptoms of a febrile convulsion

A febrile convulsion usually lasts between one and five minutes.

During the convulsion, your tamaiti may have some of the following symptoms:

Helping your child with a febrile convulsion

Important

Dial 111 and ask for an ambulance if:

Stay calm and put your tamaiti on their side in the recovery position (see below) while waiting for help to arrive.

If your tamaiti is unconscious and stops breathing at any time, start CPR. See CPR for adults and children and CPR for babies (0 to 1 year).

Recovery positionIf your tamaiti is having a febrile convulsion:

Do not:

After the seizure:

Getting help for febrile convulsions

Even if they recover quickly, take your tamaiti to your GP. They may need tests or treatment for the underlying infection.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2021.

Sources

See also:

Seizure first aid

Page reference: 142797

Review key: HIFEC-49206