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Benign Febrile Seizure in Children: Should I be Alarmed?

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Oct 21, 2021

Benign Febrile Seizure in Children: Should I be Alarmed?

A benign febrile seizure is one of the most common types of seizure that children have. So it is important for parents to be aware of what to do in case their child has a seizure, and what they can do to prevent it from happening.

What is a benign febrile seizure?

Benign febrile seizures are brief seizures that typically occur in childhood. In particular, children who 15 months or younger are more prone to having febrile seizures.

Febrile seizures can happen when a child has a high fever. These types of seizures typically last for less than 15 minutes, but are usually shorter than that.

During this type of seizure, children can lose consciousness and suffer from twitching or convulsions. After the seizure, children usually feel tired or fatigued.

Seeing your otherwise healthy child suddenly have a seizure can be a worrisome experience for a parent. Though, it is important to know that most febrile seizures are harmless, and don’t have any long-term effects on your child.

In some cases, a child with a fever can also experience what’s called a complex febrile seizure. In contrast with benign febrile seizures, complex seizures last for longer than 15 minutes, and affect an area of the body or a specific body part.

It’s also possible that a complex seizure could happen again within a 24-hour period. Though, just like a benign febrile seizure, complex seizures usually don’t indicate any serious problem, aside from the fever that the child is having.

Can it lead to epilepsy?

One thing that a lot of parents worry about is epilepsy. Studies conducted on the link between benign febrile seizures and epilepsy have indeed found a link between the two.

However, it is important to note that the possibility that a child who had a febrile seizure will have epilepsy in the future is extremely low. It is estimated that the risk is about 1 in 50 that a child might develop epilepsy.

What can you do about it?

If a child starts having either a benign febrile seizure or a complex febrile seizure, here are some things that parents can do:

  • Lay the child on their side, on top of a soft surface. This helps prevent accidentally swallowing vomit.
  • Be sure to also clear the surrounding area of any sharp or dangerous objects.
  • If the child is wearing tight clothing, loosen it a bit.
  • Don’t put a spoon or anything in their mouth, as this can cause injuries.
  • Don’t restrain or restrict the child’s movements.
  • Parents should stay with their child, and try to keep track of how long the seizure lasts.
  • If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, it isa good idea to take them to the doctor. This usually isn’t a cause for concern, but it’s best to be on the safe side.

After the seizure, be sure to stay with your child, and do your best to keep their fever under control. Be sure to take note of any other symptoms they experience, as well as if they experience a second seizure shortly afterwards.

In the vast majority of cases, children who experienced febrile seizures make a complete recovery.

How can it be prevented?

Because febrile seizures are caused by a high fever, some parents believe that giving their child fever medication can help prevent a benign febrile seizure. However, this is not the case. Fever medication can help make your child feel more comfortable, but it won’t prevent seizures.

In very rare cases, medication can be used to prevent febrile seizures. This usually involves giving the child anticonvulsant medication. But it is important to remember that this is only done under a doctor’s recommendation, and you should never try to self-medicate your child with these types of medication.

Febrile seizures usually don’t cause any problems to children, so the best thing to do would be to take care of your child while they’re having a seizure.

Key Takeaways

Benign febrile seizures can seem worrisome, especially for new parents. However, it is important to stay calm, and follow the necessary steps in order to make sure your child is safe while they are having a seizure.

While there are usually no long-term problems caused by febrile seizures, it’s always a good idea to follow it up with a visit to the doctor. This way, you can keep tabs on your child’s health, and you can make sure that they are safe and healthy.

Learn more about Child Health and Neurological Diseases here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Oct 21, 2021

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