It was Thanksgiving day 2003. My parents were visiting us from out of town, I was struggling to get dinner on the table because I had been up with my feverish 17 month old all night. My mom was helping me, as I continued to take breaks for my baby. He finally feel asleep, so I put him in my bed and went back to getting dinner on the table.
He quickly woke up crying, so I went to get him and found him leaning against the hallway wall. I gently picked him up and he was burning up even more. I felt his legs twitching some, but just thought he was weak from the sickness. My husband had finished eating so he took him from me and my parents decided to run to the store for dessert, since I wasn't able to make it for our family.
As soon as I was done eating, I went to the couch and placed my sweet baby boy on my chest and we both started to fall asleep.
I woke up to him pulling on my t-shirt, so I looked down at him and my world changed instantly!
I didn't know what was going on, but my baby was all deformed in his face, making weird sounds and his hands and legs were curled up and twitching horribly. I jumped up screaming for my husband to help me. He grabbed the phone and called 911.
I just held my baby, crying and praying, as I yelled “He isn't breathing!” all the while, watching him turn blue.
We ran outside, without our shoes, grabbed our other children, while leaving our house completely open and the phone on the floor in front of the open door.
My seven year old son looked at me and said, “Mommy is he dead?”
I can't explain the emotions of that moment, but everything in my world stopped and all I could do was cry and pray. My husband was speeding on a very windy road on our way to the closest help we could think of and my mothering instincts kicked in and I picked up my baby, rolled down the window and stuck his head out of the window for the wind to hit his face.
At that moment, he started to breathe and cry at the same time!
We arrived at Patient First and they were all surrounding him, while calling 911. The firemen were at our house and they made their way to us, to take us to the hospital for help. As they were arriving, my parents were driving by but my mom never prayed for the person needing it, which is always her habit.
When they arrived home to our car gone, the door open, the phone on the floor… they knew it was us!
Emotions were high that day, as we learned about Febrile Seizures, fever induced seizures and the risk to young children.
Our little guy recovered nicely and although he had a fever a few other times, no reoccurring seizures.
Fast forward to Valentines Day 2011, when our feverish 14 month old baby was sitting in my lap. I was rocking him and he was sweetly smiling at me, as he started to go into a Febrile Seizure.
My world was spinning out of control and I panicked all over again.
Immediately, I remembered that our new neighbor had been a pediatric nurse for many years and I told my older two children who were in bed with over 101 temps to run next store to get her.
Although it was only a few minutes, it felt like an eternity, as my husband and I were doing what we could do for our son, my holding him and praying, while my husband called 911.
The moment my neighbor came in, she took our baby from me, yelling out for cold clothes and details about his sickness. My hands were shaking out of control, as I watched her place my baby, who had stopped breathing, on his side and taking off his diaper to replace it with the cold cloth. Then she placed another one under his armpits and around his neck.
Next thing I hear is his soft cry and I started to cry knowing that my baby was going to be okay.
The lessons I learned that day are what every parent should know…
Fever Induced Seizure: What Every Parent Should Know
- Monitor Your Child's Temperature – Children under 5 are prone to having Febrile Seizures, which are caused when temperatures rise quickly.
- Know Your Family History – Febrile Seizures run in families. My husband's side of the family had these and my children's cousins have them. I had never heard of them until our child had one.
- Journal Your Medicine Routine – In an emergency, it is incredibly hard to remember what you gave your child and went. Having it written down could help provide the medical care your child may need.
- Have Acetaminophen Suppositories in Your Medical Cabinet – This is crucial when a child is having a fever induced seizure because you need something to bring down the fever, but oral medicine is impossible. Knowing when the last dosage of medicine was administered can help to avoid overdosing your child.
- Keep the Hot Spots Cool – Most children scream and holler when you put them in a cool bath, which can help bring down a rising fever. Keep light clothing on them, usually just a diaper and t-shirt or underwear and a t-shirt, and place cool to cold clothes in these areas: the forehead, around the neck, under the arm pits and between the legs. We now use Be Cool Sheets when our son has a fever.
- Place Your Child on Their Side – I learned that my ignorance of what to do when a child has a seizure is what almost killed my two sons. They were suffocating on their own saliva. If you child has a seizure, place them on their side, to allow for the extra saliva to come out of their mouth, not down their throat.
- Always Check the Expiration Dates on Your Medication – We keep Children's Motrin and Children's Tylenol in our cabinet because our doctor has our son on a medicine routine when he starts a fever.
- Keep Liquids and Popsicles Going – Cold water and popsicles help to pull down the inner temperature, so it is important to keep both of these going with a child. We only give our child 100% fruit popsicles.
- It Can Take an Hour for Your Child to Recover – When our first son had his Febrile Seizure, the doctors wanted to do a spinal tap, but I wasn't willing for that to happen because the EMT explained what he was experiencing on the trip to the hospital and my husband wasn't with me to help make that decision. The doctor gave us an hour and told us that if he doesn't improve he will have to insist on doing the procedure. During that time, I rocked my son and talked to him, encouraging his speech to return. I asked the nurse for picture books and read to him, asking him questions about what they animals said and where they were in the book, to encourage him to move his limbs. When the doctor checked on him, he had his full functions back but was extremely tired from the trauma his body went through. Understanding that your child needs time to recover is important and doing things to encourage the recovering is a good thing.
- Once a Child Has a Febrile Seizure They Are Prone to Having Them – A child can have these types of fevers up to age 5 and once they have one, it is more likely for them to have others. Keeping these tips in your mind will help to keep a fever induced seizure from happening. Talk with your doctor for a plan if you child has had one already. Being prepared can help them from returning and can also help in recovery.
Our fourth child has had three Febrile Seizures and each one has gotten easier for us to help him with knowing these things. He could have had several more but understanding the signs, staying on a medicine routine and knowing his temperature has helped us avoid more.
These tips are very important and could help parents know what to do if this was to happen to their child. Knowledge is power!
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