Febrile convulsions (fits)

Febrile convulsions are fits that sometimes happen to children when they have fever. Find out what to do if your child has a febrile convulsion.

Young children can sometimes have a febrile convulsion (fit) as a result of having a high temperature. It can be very frightening if your child has a fit, but it is usually not serious.

If your child is feverish and has a convulsion, try to stay calm. Most of these convulsions will not cause your child any harm and will last less than 5 minutes. Your child may lose consciousness and experience jerky muscle movements.1


What can I do about it? 

There is nothing you can do to make the convulsion stop.1

Ibuprofen or paracetamol will help bring a child’s temperature down, but these medicines will not prevent febrile convulsions.

Unless your child has had a previous febrile convulsion and you know what to do, it is best to dial 000 immediately for an ambulance.

Move a child who is having a fit away from things they may hurt themselves on, and roll them on their side (recovery position).

When your child has recovered, you should see your GP as soon as possible.1


When should I seek further help?

Dial 000 immediately for an ambulance if 

  • this is the first time your child has had a febrile convulsion, 

or this isn’t the first time but:

  • the convulsion lasts more than five minutes
  • your child does not wake up when the convulsion stops
  • your child looks very sick when the convulsion stops.1