A Febrile Seizure Explained By British Red Cross

Did you know that 1 in 20 children will have a febrile seizure? Yet when asked 65% of parents said they did not know what a febrile seizure was.

Further insight reveals that two thirds of parents (66%) said they had never been taught to recognise or treat the most common type of seizures in young children. And 59% said they would not be confident about what to do if one happened.

With this in mind the British Red Cross have made it their mission to teach new and expectant parents what a febrile seizure is and how this can be treated with the launch of their new ‘First aid RappedUp’ campaign.  The 50-second educational first aid music video is fun and catchy, not to mention totally cute. It was created by Chris Sweeney, director of music videos for Sam Smith, Paloma Faith and Lily Allen, features – yes you guessed it – rapping babies and children. To make sure you’ve got first aid advice at your fingertips wherever you are – download the free British Red Cross Baby and Child First Aid app.

Joanne Riley’s first aid story
A febrile seizure is caused by a fever or a raised temperature.  Mum, Joanne Riley found that her two-year-old son Freddie was suffering from tonsillitis which had caused his high temperature, which led to a febrile seizure.
“It was a really traumatic experience – seeing my baby stiff and shaking and slowly watching his lips turn blue was one of the scariest moments of my life. I remember thinking ‘this is it, my little baby is dying.”
“My husband called 999 and ran next door to get my neighbour who is a nurse. We lay Freddie down on our bed and removed his clothes to cool him down. Luckily the paramedics arrived very quickly and took him to hospital. I was surprised to hear how common the seizures are amongst babies and young children. I’ve since refreshed my first aid skills on a British Red Cross baby and child course and I’d advise all parents to do the same. The confidence and reassurance it gives you is so valuable. You can do a first aid course in a few hours which, in my book, is time well spent indeed and a skill that stays with you for life.”

Here’s some first aid advice provided by British Red Cross on how to deal with a febrile seizure:  

1. Protect the baby or child from injury. Do not restrain them. Remove objects that may injure the baby or child while they are having the seizure. Use a blanket or clothing to protect their head from injury.  

2. Remove outer clothing to help cool them. Febrile seizures are caused by a raised temperature so it is important to cool the baby or child. If the room they are in is hot, ensure there is a flow of fresh air (e.g. open a window).  

3. When the seizure is over, help the baby to rest on their side with their head tilted back. If the symptoms continue or if it is their first seizure, seek medical advice. Helping them to lie on their side with their head back will help them to keep breathing.  

Source: First aid information provided by British Red Cross. Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,013 parents with children aged 5 and under. (www.opinium.co.uk) Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). (www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16719)