Febrile Seizures: What Parents Need to Know


About one in every 25 children experience febrile seizures. Brought on by a fever and commonly seen in children between six months and five years, they can last less than 15 minutes (simple) or longer than 15 minutes (complex). “Typically, they last a couple of minutes,” says Dr. Lily Tran.


Seeing your child experience a febrile seizure can be scary, but unless they go on for five minutes or longer, they are not life-threatening, says Dr. Tran. “Overwhelmingly, the kids will turn out fine,” says Dr. Tran. “If it’s the first time, it’s not unusual to take the child to the emergency room to identify the cause of fever and have a medical evaluation.” Typically there is a family history of febrile seizures.


If your child experiences a febrile seizure, use these tips when responding:

  • Lay the child on the ground, on his or her side
  • Time the seizure
  • Take the child’s temperature

If it’s the first seizure, seek medical attention and call 911 if it lasts longer than 5 minutes. “If a child has a fever, take the routine practice to treat it, including keeping your child well hydrated and seeking medical advice regarding treatment of the fever,” says Dr. Tran.


“Parents may see their child be tired, sleepy or irritable following a seizure, but he/she should return to his/her baseline self within a couple of hours and continue to recover to their normal self. If parents have any concerns, they should contact their medical provider.” says Dr. Tran.


  • Percent of pediatric population that has febrile seizures: 2 to 5
  • Amount of febrile seizures that occur after the first one: 30%
  • Percent of children that will develop risk of epilepsy after febrile seizure: 2 to 3%

Meet Dr. Tran - CHOC Neurologist

Dr. Lily Tran did her internship and residency at the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and her fellowship at both Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and University Hospital. Her special interests include epilepsy. Dr. Tran’s philosophy of care:”Teamwork between myself and the family/primary caregiver to provide the best care for my patients.”

University of Rochester School of
Medicine and Dentistry

Psychiatry, Neurology and
Child Neurology

Dr. Lily Tran

Febrile Seizures: No Lasting Damage

About one in 25 children will suffer a febrile seizure, a convulsion induced by fever. Seeing a child endure a seizure is terrifying, but parents can rest assured that febrile seizures are not life-threatening and do not have lasting consequences.

Calm your fears and learn more about febrile seizures from Dr. Lily Tran, a CHOC neurologist.

Mom holding smiling young son

Febrile Seizures Tip Sheet

Febrile Seizures Tip Sheet

Febrile seizures are convulsions that opccur in some children with fevers. Although they can be frightening, febrile seizures usually stop on their own after a few minutes and don’t cause any other health problems. View this tip sheet to learn the signs and symptoms, what to do and when to seek emergency.

Get the Fever Facts

You’ve probably experienced waking in the middle of the night to find your child flushed, hot, and sweaty. Your little one’s forehead feels warm. You immediately suspect a fever, but are unsure of what to do next. Should you get out the thermometer? Call the doctor?

In healthy kids, fevers usually don’t indicate anything serious. Although it can be frightening when your child’s temperature rises, fever itself causes no harm and can actually be a good thing. Read on to get the fever facts and even take a quiz to see how much you already know about fevers.

Quiz about seizures

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

Kids and Broken Bones
Young wrists, forearms and elbows are vulnerable to injury. Few kids grow up without breaking a bone. Prompt, expert care of fractures is necessary.

Kids and Emergency Care
Children require special treatment, not just for their size, but also the equipment needed to treat their conditions with regards to emergency care.

Kids and Concussions
The word concussion comes from the Latin word to shake violently. A lot of times, people may hit their head and don’t realize it was a concussion.

Subscribe to KidsHealth