Yikes, My three year old has a Febrile Seizure!!?

I get this flu thingy thats been going around. The BAD one. I started feeling bad on Monday morning and by 2 oclock in the afternoon I had to leave work. Took all of Tuesday off and slept most of the day. Bad aches, fever, cough, runny nose, the whole nine yards.

I feel a little better Wednesday morning so I get up to go to work. I check on the kids (20 months, 3years) and they both feel warm, UH-OH, they getting what I have. Not good I think, so I wake up the wife and have her give them Tylenol to stop the fever before it gets worse.

Three hours later Im at work and the wife calls. Heres the conversation;
Me, “Hello?”

Wife, “You need to get home right now, I called the ambulance because Gabrielle was shaking and theyre here right now looking at her. They cant get her to wake up. We`re going to the hospital!!”

Me, “Im leaving right now Ill call you when I get close to find out where you are and what`s going on with Gabby.”

So, Im scared at this point. Kids arent supposed to have siezures are they? Unless theyre in shock, Im thinking. I call her back and she`s in the ambulance with Gabby on the way to the hospital. I talk to the EMT and he thinks she had a Febrile Seizure. Nothing to worry about he says, but we need to get her checked out just in case.
Until now, I had never heard of this siezure thing before. The EMT told me not to worry, that is was fairly common, and they had treated a number of kids lately with the same thing.

She gets to the hospital and I meet them in exam room #1. Gabby seems “out of it” not really alert but not asleep either. They give her some fever reducer and check her vitals. Her temp was up but nothing else was alarming. During this exam the nurse says that this is somewhat common and happens to lots of kids. Im still thinking,"Ive never heard of kids having siezures from a fever." The more I talk to the nurses the more I am assured that she will be OK and that it is a common occurance.

Gabby slowly comes around and she is finally herself again. Talking and wanting to go home. She handles the whole thing like a pro, didnt cry when they drew blood or when she got the shot of antibiotics (just in case). Me and the wife are relaxed now, and at five Oclock they let us take her home. She slept good last night and still felt a little warm this morning. We will keep giving her the Tylenol to keep the fever down, and hope the 20 month old doesnt go through what she did.

What a day!! At least everything is OK now.
I dont want to do that again.

Febrile Seizures

They said if it happens again we would not have to take her in, unless the cause was unknown. This time it was because of the sudden onset of fever which she got from me.
Has anyone else been caught off guard by their child having a Febrile Seizure?

It happened to my kid when he was about 5 and suffering from a flu bug/spiking fever. He was grimacing and hallucinating. It was all over in about 5 minutes or less but of course we were freaked out.
We took him to the emergency room and he was fine.
I knew about febrile seizures but everything happened so fast that it didn’t really occur to me that this is what the kid’d had until we were in the ER.
I know it’s scary. Hope the kids both feel better soon.

Very scary thing. Happened to my younger sister, she must’ve been about 1 or 2 years old. I remember she was running a high fever and my mom and I were getting ready to go to the doctor’s office, her body got stiff, her little fists clenched, her eyes rolled back and she started shaking. My mom started screaming and my dad took a towel, soaked in cold water and wrapped it around my sister to lower her body temperature.

When we got to the hospital we were told pretty much the same thing you were, but I do recall that they did mention a possible allergic reaction, maybe to pop corn. I’m sorry I can’t give you more specifics on this, I just don’t remember, and my sister is no more help in remembering. For what is worth, she’s a fine, normal, woman now, and except for being a general pain in the ass seems unaffected.

I know about these things because I am an RN but still a seizure can be frightening to watch. Just because she had a seizure does not mean she is epileptic or will ever have another one.

What to do if you observe someone having a seizure?

First don’t panic. There is nothing you can do to stop it once it has begun. If this has never happened before, call for an ambulance, otherwise just get the victim flat and on their side to prevent choking on their secretions. They may drool or clench their jaws or grunt, grimace or breath heavy.

Second. Do not try to restrain the person. Try to prevent them injuring themselves on furniture or bumping their head. NEVER try to stick anything in their mouth. It is physically impossible to swallow your own tongue; it is possible for a person having a seizure to bite your finger off if you stick it in their mouth.

Third. When the shaking stops the person will be what is called post ictal. They may be awake but dazed. Often they will have no clue what happened. Tell them “you had a seizure, help will be here soon” and keep them quiet.

Once I was at a Meijer’s and heard a man screaming “Oh god Daddy NO!” and rounded the corner just in time to see a man about forty holding on to an elderly man who was obviously having a full tonic-clonic (what used to be called grand mal) seizure. I helped get him on the floor and on his side and another nurse heard the commotion and came to help. We had security call for the squad and stayed with the man. You would not believe the bystanders who wanted to put his belt or wallet in his mouth, or hold him down. Another decided that we should do something and we had to physically keep him from doing CPR on the poor gentleman. The man’s son said he had never had a seizure before.

I know every knows this but it should be said, never give aspirin to a child with a viral illness because of the risk of Reyes Syndrome. Use tylenol or motrin instead.

Glad to hear your daughter is doing better. What a scare.


My husband suffered several febrile seizures as a child. It was very scary for his single mom. And IIRC (couldn’t use the link above), every siezure you have makes the next one more likely, or easier to have, or something like that. Or is that strictly for epileptic siezures?

As he grew a little older, they stopped happening, even if his fever got really high. But I still watch him closely, actually! But I’m paranoid (he’s 33).

But it was incredibly scary while it was happening, and his mom had to watch his temp very closely when he was sick.

I have found that children’s Motrin works better and faster on fever, YMMV of course. And you can “leap-frog” Tylenol & Motrin so that one doesn’t wear off, letting the fever rise again. For example, Motrin is good for 6 hrs, give Tylenol at hr 5, Tylenol is good for 4 hrs, give Motrin at hr 3, etc. Check with your pediatrician of course, but mine says it’s ok.

Gabby should be just fine. And so will you!

Oh yes.

My son is adopted - so we have very little (OK, no) information on his genetics. He came home to us at 6 1/2 months. At about 15 months he had his first Febrile Seizure.

We freaked, called the ambulence, went to the emergency room, they said the same thing they told you “not a big deal, happens to a lot of kids, don’t worry about it, likely to grow out of it by the time he’s six, if you ever see another one.” We have him checked out by his peditrician - he’s fine (mom and dad are shaken - both of us thought he was dying).

So almost exactly 12 months later, he has another one. I don’t worry about it. And a couple hours later another one - and I don’t worry about it. I call the peditrician after the third and the doctor on call (who I’ve never met) and she said “Your son has had three seizures and you are just calling me now!” So we go to the emergency room and they look him over, can’t find anything wrong and they send us home (he had another one in the emergency room). They keep happening, and are getting closer together, so we go back to the emergency room. (Children’s Hospital for all these emergency room visits, btw). New doctor looks him over, can’t find anything wrong, but calls the Neurologist. Neurologist has her give him oral valium. This breaks the seizure cycle (and he hasn’t had one since - its been two years), but seeing my 2 1/2 year old stoned on valium was really funny (“these are the best graham crackers I’ve ever had, mom”). We spent the day in the hospital (in the children’s cancer ward because it was the only available free bed, reminding me that epilepsy isn’t the worst thing in the world).

He’s been fine. The neurologist thought he might be more likely to turn out to be an epileptic due to the odd seizure pattern of the second set - but so far, no signs of it. We also keep a dose of valium in the house (so far neither he nor I has needed it).

As you know, chances are pretty good you won’t see another one. And the chances are if you do see another one, you won’t see any after five or six. We do the leap frog thing with medication EJsGirl recommends.

Best wishes.

Not much to add except that Mermaid’s advice is correct. Febrile seizures are not harmful in and of themselves. The worst thing that can happen because of them is a further increase in temperature because of the strenuous activity the kids go through during the seizure. I sympathize,though. They usually scare the hell out of the parents.

Happened to my daughter - scared the CRAP out of me.

Just take comfort in what everyone said - they don’t cause any permanent damage and chances are she’ll be fine.

Still, you have my sympathy. Nothing sucks worse than watching your kid go through something unpleasant

My sympathies.

I know seizures are scary because my boyfriend is an epileptic. He went through a series of tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures last November. Its very hard watching someone go though a seizure and not being able to help them.

** Mermaid’s** advice is really helpful too.

Another previously scared parent checking in. This happened to my middle son when he was four. Like you this scared us big time. Everything ended up fine except for an overzealous cop who, according to procedures:confused: , had to check my other sons and found bruises on my oldest :eek: No amount of explaining about how he got them from playing PeeWee football mattered to him. We ended up with six months of social worker meetings to ensure we were not child abusers.

I am just glad everything worked out ok. Hopefully your scare is over and everything turns out good for both you and your family.

I had 10 before the age of 5 or 6. I don’t remember any of it now of course but apparently it scared the sh*t out of my parents. I’ve never had one since and I’m not likely to ever have one again. I think they tend to happen once the body temperature goes over a certain point but as far as I’m aware, it’s a fixed temperature which triggers the convulsion ie always the same.

So if your child has a temperature you can constantly monitor it and have a pretty good idea when they are about to go into seizure terrirtory. You should get the kid to ER before the kid hits the critical temperature if possible, but in any case straight away once the seizure hits.

I survived them ok, no problems as a result.

The only downside to it all is that apparently I’m not allowed to ever fly a plane (despite having 20/20 vision).

None of my kids have had these (well, not yet, but my youngest is only 3, so I guess there’s still time), but I’ve heard of them, know they’re not really dangerous, etc. Still, I can imagine it’s scary as hell to see!

This has been my experience as well. Seems to be more effective, and also lasts longer, which is very important at night time.

Good luck!

I have a reaction to throwing up. I don’t bother. I go from feeling green to passed out… but I (apperently) look like I’m having a seizure. Not a fever thing, just odd. Just thought I’d throw that in.

My son has had one grande mal seizure in his life, when he was six. The remarkable thing is that the doctors had no idea why. I remember the Dr. stating that it was not Febrile since there was no fever or other evident triggers.

What a terrifying night though! I got home and my answering machine was just clicking off from recording a message left by my Ex that she was getting into the ambulance with Kaithan and he’d had some kind of seizure. He was choking on his vomit and convulsing when his older sister felt the need to investigate… (11pm, she had gotten up to get a drink of water.)

I don’t think I have ever driven to the hospital with more desperate urgency. When I got there, my ex was already in the pediactic emergency with him and he was just grey and listless on the bed. They did blood work and the usual and then admitted him which meant a move up to the ward.

“Only one parent can stay.” the nurse informed us. We let Kai choose and I got the nod to stay 'til morning. he’d vomited during the seizure, lost bladder control, passed out. Once we had him in some clean hospital duds he curled up in the bed and slept holding my hand. I didn’t sleep a wink. Just watched him.

In the morning, his first words were, “when will mom come?” So I phoned her and told her to get down there and after she arrived I went to work. My ex told that they took him down for CAT scans just after lunch and because he co-operated and lay still for them the techs sent him up a stuffy from the gift shop. Apparently he was their best client all day.

We got to bring him home after another night and the following two weeks he was in and out of specialists running sundry tests trying to figure out why he would have this kind of seizure without any evident trigger. Every test came up negative.

it’s been four years since that night and he’s had no other incidents. But that night left a mark on me.

Not necessarilly. Febrile seizures as an infant/toddler don’t automatically rule out civilian flight anymore, at least in the Unites States. You DO have to be seizure-free without benefit of medication for something like 20 years (so, if your last FS was at 4, you have to wait until you’re 24 to solo an airplane) and they might require an EEG (that’s the one for brainwaves, right?)

One of my sisters had a febrile seizure as an infant. Just one, never again (she’s in her late 40’s now). In addition to asprin to keep her fever down (yes, I know we don’t do that anymore, but you’re talking 47 years ago now) my parents were also advised to use a sponge-bath to help keep her temperature below the trigger point when she was sick.

Like others have said - scares the hell out of the parents, but lots of people have had them with no lingering effects.

No, it’s only true for epileptic seiziures - febrile seizures are effected only by high temps, a not history of having them before(meaning they can be wholey prevented if you get a fever down more quickly in the future). We had to have a workshop about them last year when I worked with special ed preschool/k kids. Febrile seizures have different causes that “normal” ones and aren’t an indicator that a child is likely to have them again -as long as their temps are properly managed when sick- and do not make a person more likely to develop epilepsy.

i had one when i was 3.

weirdly i have very clear memories of the events leading up to it, and the ride to the hospital etc.

i still tend to spike very high fevers whenever i am sick, but with no ill effects.

my brain seems to be working pretty much up to spec, so no permanent damage!

It happened to my sister when she was a toddler – my mom tells the story and she was really scared. It’s the only time it ever happened (my sister in now in her 40s).

Thanks for all of your words of comfort and re-assurance. I now feel better that there are others here that have gone through this and have not had any lingering problems.
We took Gabby to the pediatrician last night to get the follow up. Everything is OK. A little temperature yet, but every three hours we alternate Motrin with Tylenol. - Thanks !

You guys ARE the best !