With the change of seasons it is very likely that more frequent infections, accompanied by fever, will occur in young children.  When the temperature rises rapidly, it is not uncommon for a seizure or convulsion to occur. Here are some things to look for and what to do if your child experiences such an event.


Most febrile seizures occur in children less than five years of age and are characterized by:

  • Jerking motions of arms and legs – both sides of the body involved.
  • The child’s head may be thrown backwards or bob forward
  • The eyes may roll backwards
  • There may be a temporary loss of consciousness
  • Temperature usually in excess of 102 f


Febrile seizures are usually very short, often stopping in less than 15 seconds. On rare occasions they may last as long as five minutes.

What to do:

  • Don’t panic. Although frightening, febrile seizures are rarely harmful and do not indicate epilepsy.
  • Keep your child comfortable and be as reassuring as possible.
  • Make sure that the surroundings are free from objects that could be harmful if they are struck.

After the seizure:

  • Call your health care provider for advice and follow instructions accordingly.

Watch for:

  • If a seizure is longer than five minutes consult the doctor.
  • If there is a stiffening of the neck, vomiting, or any kind of unusual rash, call 911 and seek immediate medical help.

It is important to say again that it is very unusual for a febrile seizure to have any ill effects on your child’s health. Always consult your child’s doctor for specific advice and for follow up management. And, as always, thank you for being an alert and caring “Sixty Second Parent!”