As parents, it is of utmost importance to know what to do if a child has a seizure.
In children, febrile seizures, which can be caused by a rise in body temperature, are quite common and are not usually a symptom of a serious illness. However, they can be very frightening to parents. It is therefore essential to know what to do in the event of a child presenting this condition.

Pamela Muñoz, pediatric neurologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma, offers some recommendations in this regard. “Any child who has suffered a febrile seizure should be evaluated by his or her physician. These crises occur when a child has fever, that is to say, with a temperature higher than 38 degrees. They usually last a few minutes, subside spontaneously and are more frequent between 12 and 18 months of age. However, they can affect children from 6 months to 5 years of age”, states the specialist.

What should I do if my child has a febrile convulsion?
First of all, the pediatric neurologist recommends keeping calm during the event. “Undress the child and remove tight clothing, especially around the head and neck,” she adds. She also specified that the child should not be given any medicine by mouth during the  during the crisis, since it cannot be opened for any reason. He also adds that force should not be used to mechanically contain the episode. On the other hand, it is recommended to use warm cloths or baths to reduce fever.

The  expert points out that, if the child is conscious, he/she should be placed on his/her side (lateral decubitus) to avoid aspiration of saliva and vomit. In the same way, it is necessary to clean the excess secretions. “Do not perform resuscitation maneuvers and count the time of  the duration of the event. If it exceeds 5 minutes, seek immediate medical attention,” he specifies.

How do I know if my child is prone to go through this situation?
There are risk factors that can predispose these crises. Among them are a family history of seizures or epilepsy, recurrent fever, premature children or with a history of prolonged hospitalization of the newborn unit, focal seizures, focalized seizures or epileptic seizures., onset of these episodes before the first year of life, and male sex.

The loss of consciousness associated with generalized (tonic posturing) or localized movement in the context of fever are its most common symptoms. If your child has a febrile seizure, remain calm and do not despair.  However, if any of these symptoms occur, call 911 or go to the nearest health center:

  • If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes
  • If the child remains unconscious and unresponsive within 3 minutes, call 911 or go to the nearest health center.
  • If the child has localized seizures (only half of the body).
  • General poor condition 
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Has more than 2 episodes within 24 hours

The pediatric controls are key for the specialist to evaluate the physical and cognitive development of the child. In the same line, they are useful for parents to clear up any doubts they may have about how to act in different situations.