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Baby and Child First Aid

Questions and answers about first aid for babies and children: febrile seizure

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

Is there any way I can prevent a febrile seizure?

Answer
Answer

Febrile seizures are usually caused by a fever as a result of a child being unwell. 

If a baby or child has a fever, you can try to prevent a febrile seizure occurring by reducing their temperature. To do this, remove outer clothing and blankets, give them fluids such as water and juice, and give the recommended amount of paracetamol or ibuprofen based syrup. Try to keep them in a stable environment, by opening windows and turning off central heating. 

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Q

How long does a seizure usually last?

Answer
Answer

Seizures vary in length but they are usually a few minutes long.

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Q

How do I remove clothing from a baby or child having a seizure?

Answer
Answer

It can be a challenge as they may be very stiff or moving a lot. Try to remove the clothes from one limb at a time. Remain calm and gently remove the clothes without restraining them.

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Q

Should I use an ice pack to cool them down?

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Answer

No. Their temperature may be very high so it would distress them if you applied something so cold.

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Q

Should I put the child in a cold shower or bath to cool them down?

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Answer

No, placing them in a cold shower or bath would be distressing and may induce hypothermia.

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Q

If I knew my child had had a febrile seizure and I had cooled them down would I still need to seek medical advice?

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Answer

It very much depends on the situation. If you thought the situation was under control and your child was improving you may not need to call 999 although you might still need some medical advice from your GP or NHS 111. If you are ever in doubt or it is their first seizure, it is always a good idea to seek medical advice.

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Q

What age of child do febrile seizures affect?

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Answer

Most febrile seizures happen to babies and children between the ages of six months and three years old.

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