Febrile Convulsions

Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Being a Mumma, Kids, The UNspoken | 5 comments

Febrile Convulsions

Have you ever heard of them? I know I haven’t and neither had my family until Grand final week this year.

Jonathan and I were in Melbourne for the week, it was the Thursday morning and while I was shopping in the city I got a phone call no parent want’s to get. It was my dad on the other end, he and my mum were looking after Jack at our home.

Dad started with “the ambulance is here, Jack has had a little seizure.”

My heart dropped, I had clothes in my hand and I don;t even know who I handed them to, I think it was just another customer walking by. I walked straight out the front of the shop and sat down. I thought my legs were going to give way and I started shaking.

Dad went on to tell me he was ok but the paramedic wanted to talk to me, I can’t really remember what he said but I remember him being really calm and acting like Jack had a runny nose not that he’d had a seizure!!!!

They informed me they were taking him to hospital and they would keep me updated and I will need to give further information shortly. Jonathan was working and I couldn’t get in contact with him, my phone was running out of battery so I quickly jumped in a cab and went straight back to the hotel.

I felt so useless and guilty for being away from him, mother guilt always gets us. Dad kept reassuring me there was nothing I could do but it’s still really hard when you are so far away.

Jonathan came straight back to the hotel and we just had to wait to hear what was happening, it felt like for ever. Once they were at the hospital dad called me back while they were waiting for the tests and explained what had happened.

Jack had been a bit grizzly that morning and mum thought there was something not right. She called our local GP to see if someone could take a look at him but they were fully booked. She said he felt a bit warm so she put him in a tepid bath but he didn’t want to be in there which was very strange because bath time is his favourite time of the day. He started rubbing his eyes so my decided to make him a bottle and meanwhile he was sitting up on the bench with dad laughing at him.

Dad was giving Jack the bottle when all of a sudden he stopped drinking and stared at the ceiling. He didn’t go stiff or convulse he was just completely non responsive. Dad started saying “Jack… Jack.. Jack” and still nothing. Mum looked over and said “oh my god Bill, what happened?” Dad told mum he was staring at the ceiling and he looked up to see what it was and then he wouldn’t respond.

They were going to put him in the car but decided to call an ambulance. Jack was completely lifeless in dad’s arms, they thought he was dead. Dad started trying to give him mouth to mouth, trying to get him to blink, cough or just do something. The seizure lasted for 3 mins.

Mum said the operator on the phone was amazing, she kept reassuring mum and telling her she was doing a great job. It was about 15 mins but they said it felt like forever waiting for them to get there. The first thing the paramedics did was give him panadol which mum had tried to do but he vomited it up.

The paramedics explained to mum and dad he had a Febrile convulsion. His temperature had risen too fast for his brain to handle which caused Jack to act the way he did.

I jumped on a flight and headed straight home. When I got to the hospital I couldn’t believe how relaxed everyone was about it. Apparently Febrile Seizures/convulsions are very common and nothing to worry about, yet most people I know have never heard of them. I think this is something that every parent should be aware of. Although there is no damage done to the baby for the people watching it is traumatic. My poor dad has had 3 heart attacks and has a heart condition and all I could think about was him trying to give him mouth to mouth. It is something that my parents will never forget, it scared the hell out of them.

All Jack’s tests came back clear he just had a virus which caused his temp to spike and continued to rise for a week. The Dr’s and nurses weren’t concerned about his temp getting to 40.3 degrees which it did on a few occasions as it came down with panadol. It’s not the high temps that cause the seizures it’s how fast they rise.

So if this happens to your child they say to call the ambulance if it lasts longer than 5 mins but I would call them straight away, better to be safe than sorry. I don’t know anyone who could watch this and not be concerned or panic.

Knowledge is a powerful thing and I think there needs to be more awareness for this condition.


KB xx




  1. Great story Kylie. I had this happen to me when I was a baby. It freaked my mum and out and she took me to my family gp immediately. Turns out I’d had an allergic reaction to an immunisation which caused a huge spike in my temperature. Most people aren’t aware what this is or how to deal with it. At the time my mum thought I had died, which would probably be the thoughts of most people in this situation. We need more education and awareness in communities so when a situation such as this arises, people know how to handle it.

  2. You are so right Kylie – there needs to be a lot more awareness/education about this. I have never experienced it but know I would be absolutely terrified if it happened to my child.

  3. Hi Brit,

    These are something I had never heard of until I became cabin crew with Virgin. During our medical training we are taught about these convulsions being common amoung babies especially when they are too hot or temperature has risen. I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and probably wouldn’t even remember this information or what todo if it was to happen to my son but it is something that is seen occasionally and if taught to airline crew members – it should at least be knowen to parents it can happen and aparantly very common! I agree!

    • Hi Hayley,

      I was also Cabin Crew with Virgin back in 2003 but can’t remember learning about Febrile Convulsions but yes agree it is something that every parent should know.

      Good luck with your bubba and thankyou for reading

      Kylie xx

  4. Hi Kylie, I wish I had seen this a few weeks ago! I have just been through this, although my son had over two hours of seizures! Did jack have to have a brain scan? Did it come back ok?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *