Skip to main content


Log in

First febrile convulsions: inquiry about the knowledge, attitudes and concerns of the patients’ mothers

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
European Journal of Pediatrics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In comparison with other diseases, febrile convulsion, despite its excellent prognosis, is a cause of high anxiety among mothers. The objective of our study was to evaluate the knowledge, concerns, attitudes and practices of the mothers of children with first febrile convulsion. A prospective questionnaire-based study was carried out at the Mofid Children’s Hospital. One hundred and twenty-six mothers of consecutive children presenting with febrile convulsion were enrolled. Only 58 (46%) mothers recognised the convulsion. Forty-nine (39%) of them interpreted the seizure as death. Others interpreted it as other causes. Eighty-five (68%) parents did not carry out any intervention prior to getting the child to the hospital. The most common cause of concern among parents was the state of their child’s health in the future (n = 120, 95%), followed by the fear of recurrence (n = 83, 66%), mental retardation (n = 60, 48%), paralysis (n = 39, 31%), physical disability (n = 37, 30%) and learning dysfunction (n = 28, 22%). In 41 (33%) mothers, there were other causes of concerns, including fear of visual defect, hearing loss, memory loss, brain defect, delay in walking, drug adverse effects, coma and death. Sixty-eight percent of mothers had acceptable information about the measures that should be taken to prevent recurrence. Awareness of preventive measures was higher in mothers with high educational level (P < 0.01). Seventy-six percent of mothers did not know anything about the necessary measures in case of recurrence. From this study, we conclude that parental fear of febrile convulsion is a major problem, with serious negative consequences affecting daily familial life.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. al-Eissa YA (1995) Febrile seizures: rate and risk factors of recurrence. J Child Neurol 10:315–319

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Annegers JF, Hauser WA, Elveback LR, Kurland LT (1979) The risk of epilepsy following febrile convulsions. Neurology 29:297–303

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Balslev T (1991) Parental reactions to a child’s first febrile convulsion. A follow-up investigation. Acta Paediatr Scand 80:466–469

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Baumer JH, David TJ, Valentine SJ, Roberts JE, Hughes BR (1981) Many parents think their child is dying when having a first febrile convulsion. Dev Med Child Neurol 23:462–464

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Berg AT, Shinnar S, Hauser WA, Leventhal JM (1990) Predictors of recurrent febrile seizures: a metaanalytic review. J Pediatr 116:329–337

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Berger S (1971) Theory and measurement of anxiety state. In: Handbook of modern personality theory, 3rd edn. Aldine, Chicago, pp 178–179

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bethune P, Gordon K, Dooley J, Camfield C, Camfield P (1993) Which child will have a febrile seizure? Am J Dis Child 147:35–39

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Depiero AD, Teach SJ (2001) Febrile seizures. Pediatr Emerg Care 17:384–387

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Fetveit A (2008) Assessment of febrile seizures in children. Eur J Pediatr 167:17–27

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Flury T, Aebi C, Donati F (2001) Febrile seizures and parental anxiety: does information help? Swiss Med Wkly 131:556–560

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Huang MC, Liu CC, Huang CC (1998) Effects of an educational program on parents with febrile convulsive children. Pediatr Neurol 18:150–155

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Huang MC, Liu CC, Huang CC, Thomas K (2002) Parental responses to first and recurrent febrile convulsions. Acta Neurol Scand 105:293–299

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Huang MC, Huang CC, Thomas K (2006) Febrile convulsions: development and validation of a questionnaire to measure parental knowledge, attitudes, concerns and practices. J Formos Med Assoc 105:38–48

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Joshi C, Wawrykow T, Patrick J, Prasad A (2005) Do clinical variables predict an abnormal EEG in patients with complex febrile seizures? Seizure 14:429–434

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Kramer MS, Naimark L, Leduc DG (1985) Parental fever phobia and its correlates. Pediatrics 75:1110–1113

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Miller R (1996) The effect on parents of febrile convulsions. Pediatr Nurs 8:28–31

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Millar JS (2006) Evaluation and treatment of the child with febrile seizure. Am Fam Physician 73:1761–1764

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Mosallaeezadeh Yazdi M (1995) The effect of viewing procedure videos on anxiety reduction in patients of the dental surgery ward. Medical Doctorate Dissertation, Kerman Medical University, pp 23–47

  19. Naveed uR, Billoo AG (2005) Association between iron deficiency anemia and febrile seizures. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 15:338–340

    Google Scholar 

  20. Nelson KB, Ellenberg JH (1976) Predictors of epilepsy in children who have experienced febrile seizures. N Engl J Med 295:1029–1033

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Nelson KB, Ellenberg JH (1978) Prognosis in children with febrile seizures. Pediatrics 61:720–727

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Offringa M, Bossuyt PM, Lubsen J, Ellenberg JH, Nelson KB, Knudsen FU, Annegers JF, el-Radhi AS, Habbema JD, Derksen-Lubsen G, Hauser WA, Kurland LT, Banajeh SMA, Larsen S (1994) Risk factors for seizure recurrence in children with febrile seizures: a pooled analysis of individual patient data from five studies. J Pediatr 124:574–584

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Parmar RC, Sahu DR, Bavdekar SB (2001) Knowledge, attitude and practices of parents of children with febrile convulsion. J Postgrad Med 47:19–23

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Peiffer A, Thompson J, Charlier C, Otterud B, Varvil T, Pappas C, Barnitz C, Gruenthal K, Kuhn R, Leppert M (1999) A locus for febrile seizures (FEB3) maps to chromosome 2q23–24. Ann Neurol 46:671–678

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Rose W, Kirubakaran C, Scott JX (2005) Intermittent clobazam therapy in febrile seizures. Indian J Pediatr 72:31–33

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Shinnar S, Glauser TA (2002) Febrile seizures. J Child Neurol 17(Suppl 1):S44–S52

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. van Stuijvenberg M, Derksen-Lubsen G, Steyerberg EW, Habbema JD, Moll HA (1998) Randomized, controlled trial of ibuprofen syrup administered during febrile illnesses to prevent febrile seizure recurrences. Pediatrics 102:E51

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. van Stuijvenberg M, Steyerberg EW, Derksen-Lubsen G, Moll HA (1998) Temperature, age, and recurrence of febrile seizure. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 152:1170–1175

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Waruiru C, Appleton R (2004) Febrile seizures: an update. Arch Dis Child 89:751–756

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Wassmer E, Hanlon M (1999) Effects of information on parental knowledge of febrile convulsions. Seizure 8:421–423

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We wish to thank the medical faculty research council for approving the proposal, Dr. Ahmadreza Farsar, Dr. Ali Rastegarpour, Dr. Mohammad Barzegar and Dr. Hassan Nikfarjam for their kind cooperation in designing and executing the project and the parents of the children for their patiently help.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ali-Asghar Kolahi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kolahi, AA., Tahmooreszadeh, S. First febrile convulsions: inquiry about the knowledge, attitudes and concerns of the patients’ mothers. Eur J Pediatr 168, 167–171 (2009).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: