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The Scariest Day of my Life: Baby Bun had a seizure

I struggled with writing this post. Should I really be revealing this or talking about it considering it is pretty personal… but I thought: Hey I can’t be the only mother who didn’t know this was possible.

So I had Baby Bun for the day, his fever was on and off reaching pretty high levels but it seemed under control when I picked him up.


Also, doctors say to let the baby fight off the fever because it is their body responding to the infection inside, and they need to build up their immune system.

Anyway, I was out with Baby Bun and all of a sudden he went limp in my arms like a rag doll and his eyes rolled back.

I called his name thinking he was just playing “oh look my legs are broken Mommy” again with me, but he didn’t respond and his limbs started jerking and he convulsed in my arms.

I freaked.

I thought he was dying.

I didn’t know what to do, but people started gathering and helping me lay him on the floor on his side, taking off his jacket quickly (you aren’t supposed to carry or move them) making sure nothing was in his mouth to choke him and to keep his mouth loose so that he wouldn’t bite his tongue off.

He jerked for an eternity on that floor.

All I could do was cry and watch my baby go into convulsions.


A man helping me tried to calm me down but all I could do was sob in shock as he foamed at the mouth and jerked on the floor like a marionette.

He was unresponsive and I just.. I didn’t know what to do.

5 minutes later, it was over and he seemed kind of sleepy, not quite all there and all I could think was: Does he have brain damage now? Is he a vegetable!?

4 hours later at the hospital, turns out he had a febrile seizure which is common in children who have a history of it in their families (turns out, I do) and his fever reached such a high degree that his body basically shut down to try and moderate the temperature instead of boiling his brain.

It could happen again within the next 2 years and up until the age of 6 (30 – 35% chance it will happen again).

Never again in my life will I ever have had such a scary day.

Tips for febrile fevers I learned:

  • Happens to 2-4% of children under 6.
  • Give them Advil not Tylenol. A doctor told me it works better than Tylenol for children to really bring down that fever.
  • Don’t bathe them, it could end up causing chills with the skin being cold but their internal temp rising
  • Try and keep their temps down below 39C.. I know they have to fight it off, but his fever must have gone above 40C to have gone into a seizure
  • Anything under 5 minutes as a seizure is OK. 15 minutes and you have a problem.
  • Know if your family has a history of febrile seizures and plan accordingly. You don’t want to be caught off guard like I was.
  • Take a baby CPR course and get trained in what to do.
  • When a child has a febrile seizure, it is NOT brain damaging and he just has to lie on his side, and don’t try to hold him down or touch him. Just let it play itself out, and keep talking to him, saying his name.
  • When he comes to, talk to him and try to get him to be alert and see if he did suffer any damage internally.
  • Take him to the hospital IMMEDIATELY to make sure it was a febrile seizure and not something darker like epilepsy manifesting itself.
  • Try and stay calm even while your precious baby is foaming at the mouth and totally unresponsive.

Anyway, that has been my week. I’m sorry it isn’t an upbeat post, but all parents should be forewarned.

Baby Bun is otherwise a very healthy baby without any allergies or medications he needs to be on.

I never expected this and maybe you won’t either.

I thought he was dying.

You have no idea how much I have been crying on and off lately, just thinking and reliving that short-lived hell.


  • The Asian Pear

    That sounds scary. It must have been horrible for you. *hugs* I’m glad Baby Bun is okay now.

  • Jeff

    This happened to me when I was a baby, my parents were really scared.

  • Irene

    That must have been absolutely terrifying!! I hope he’s feeling better soon and that it doesn’t happen ever again. Hope you can shake this scary episode – I would be a mess.

  • Xin

    I’m so glad your son is alright now! I can’t even imagine how scary it must have been :[.

  • Yetunde

    According to my dad, I had this as a child as well in the middle of the night no less. My parents ran out of the house screaming for the neighbors to come help. Obviously things turned out ok and I’m glad you can say the same

    One of my kids is more prone to spiking crazy high fevers (especially when teething) and I can share with you the 2 best advice I got from other parents

    1) you can alternate the Advil and Tylenol every 2-3 hours in cases where the temperature builds back up faster than the 4-6 hours you’re supposed to wait between doses
    2) A Dutch colleague advised me to soak a pair of socks in cold water, wring and put on the kid. The cold socks literally draw heat from their bodies and cool them down

    To put the obligatory disclaimer, I’m not a doctor but those two tips have worked for me more than once.

  • Ramona

    When my daughter had a fever for the first time (more than a year ago), my sister in law (who’s a pediatrician), told me it’s possible she’ll have convulsions after her fever passes 38.5 Celsius. Fortunately daughter never had any seizures, even if her fever did go close to 40. We do give her Ibalgin (Ibuprofen based), since Panadol (Paracetamol) doesn’t always work well.

    Sorry to hear about baby bun, I can only imagine what a shock such an episode can bring.

  • Kim

    Despite it being pretty rare, I have 2 friends whose kids have had these seizures. One has never had them again and the other has a tendency to get them often – her fevers start and go immediate out of control. I could not imagine witnessing this with my own kids – you feel helpless. I’m glad Bun is ok and that you weren’t alone when it happened. Xo

  • Cassie

    Oh my god Sherry that’s absolutely terrifying. I don’t even know what I would do if I was in the same situation. I sincerely hope he’s one of the majority who doesn’t have a repeat episode. My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope baby bun is doing better now and his fever has gone down.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I told my partner: YOU WEREN”T THERE… when he said: well you didn’t know but it was totally fine…

      I mean I still cried thinking about it, even though I knew he was fine.

  • raluca

    My heart goes out to you. It must have been a really scary moment.

  • Anne

    Yikes. That must have been absolutely awful. Big hugs.

  • anon

    yes it happened to my son, 8 years ago. He was 2.
    It never happened again.
    We thought he was dying, he had an infection that they took a week to find in the hospital.
    So sorry you went through this.
    Its a parents worst nightmare.
    Try sleep – get your other half to watch the baby while you sleep.
    Tired and paranoid is an awful combination.

  • Life we learn

    I’m so glad he is ok! I can only imagine how horrible it was for you. You have helped many people by writing this post. Take care.

  • Erika

    So glad he’s alright! I can’t imagine how terrifying that was.

  • Pauline Tillotson

    Yes, it’s personal. But sharing fears and worries helps. And in doing so you’ve raised awareness of a fairly common paediatric ailment, helping other parents know what to do if it happens to their child.
    You’ve also experienced the best of humanity. You felt your world implode and strangers came to yours and baby bun’s aid. Without being asked and seeking no reward. That’s wonderful.
    I had a febrile seizure age 5. And now I’m 43 with no ill effects as a result.
    Wishing you all a happy, laughter filled, and healthy future.
    P xxx

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