The Night My Daughter had a Febrile Seizure


ferbile seizure

It was a Sunday like any other. We took a family field trip to the airport to drop my husband off for a work-trip. Madeline had a blast exploring the airport, helping Daddy check in for his flight, enjoying a special breakfast at Chelsea’s Kitchen and waving to Daddy as he went through the terminal to leave for his flight. She took a long nap and when she woke up, I surprised her by taking her to Disney On Ice with our friends after a last minute invite. She was acting normal, she wasn’t warm and she didn’t display any signs of sickness. During Disney on Ice, she laughed and she danced and she enjoyed special yummy treats while her favorite characters came to life in front of her. On the way home, she babbled the whole way telling me all about her day, making a pretend phone call and laughing while wearing her Minnie Mouse tights and matching Minnie Mouse dress. It was a special day. A happy day.

We came home and she wasn’t very hungry. She’s nearly two so there are days when the picky eater comes out so I didn’t think much of it. As we were heading upstairs, I noticed the faintest shiver coming from her. I looked at her, felt her for a fever and took her temperature. Nothing appeared to be out of the norm, but the shiver. We went upstairs and I decided to forgo her nightly bath. She was still acting normal, not warm and the shivers had subsided. The house was quiet and lonely as we sat in her chair before I put her in her crib. Then it happened in a blink of an eye.

The normally very active, talkative, bouncy and happy toddler got still. She started staring off into space. It wasn’t enough for anyone but me to notice, but I knew in an instant something wasn’t right. I am so grateful to have my sister and her family living down the street. Without thinking twice, I picked her up (and subconsciously had her baby doll in my other arm) and ran out of the house without shoes on to my sisters. I didn’t know what was happening but I knew something bad was about to happen. By the time we reached my sister’s four houses down, she was lifeless. She wouldn’t respond to me, she wouldn’t blink, she was barely breathing and I had no idea what was happening. It almost looked like she was choking. We rushed her inside, and I frantically called 911 while my brother-in-law tried to revive her, but she only got worse. She got so bad that we all thought we were losing her. I thought I was losing my baby girl in front of my very eyes and nothing we did was helping. Just then, life re-entered her body. She came out of it dazed and remained dazed for awhile. The paramedics showed up and took her temperature. It had gone from completely normal to 102 within minutes. As a result, it spiked a febrile seizure. Something I had never heard of. Something the doctor had never mentioned. Something the books had never warned me about. 

A febrile seizure can happen when a fever quickly spikes, mostly in infants, but can happen to anyone. What I didn’t realize was that unlike the seizures I read about or saw on TV, this one didn’t make her foam at the mouth or convulse. This one made her lifeless, staring off and appearing as if life was leaving her itty-bitty body.

We spent the next four hours in the ER while the poor little girl got poked and tests were taken. It turned out that she most likely contacted Roseola which can bring on a high risk of a febrile seizure. But I want to know how I missed this warning. I want to know why after all the articles and books and research I did before parenthood, I didn’t ever once read about this. They aren’t common. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.

I hope nobody has to go through the scary experience of their child having a febrile seizure, but if you do, I hope this blog post can provide the forewarning so you know what may be happening. The doctor told me that should one occur in the future, to secure the child to keep them from falling and it’s always best to call 911 for the off-chance that it isn’t a febrile seizure and requires major medical attention. However, I encourage you to ask your pediatrician for resources to learn about a febrile seizure and other medical situations that could happen.


  1. Hi, My name is Madison.
    I was 7 when I had my last febrile seizure which was in Disneyland and that was really abnormal because it is extremely rare to have it at that age. I had had my 6th febrile seizure and when I woke up I panicked. My story is extremely fuzzy because I blacked out In a German restaurant and I only know little bits of the story but I will try to tell it as best as possible:

    A seizure from my perspective+ what I have been told
    I had been not eating In the past few nights we were at Disney and was instead falling asleep on tables. One night we went to a German restaurant and we must’ve waited for hours an I eventually got extremely tired and layer my head in my mom’s shoulder
    (She was sitting on the floor) and suddenly my body went limp and I started shaking. My mom screams for help and an off duty doctor comes to her aid. My mom says to the doctor “my daughter is having a seizure” the doctor then says “ how old is she” my mom replied with “7” and the doctor says “ no she cannot be having a seizure she is too old” we then dialed 911 and since they couldn’t get the ambulance through to Disney, they had to bring a stretcher. I was then in the ambulance again and my mom says I was having a seizure. The same thing happened. Sure enough when we got to the hospital they did many many tests for hours and I felt like I was dead because I was so so tired. And I had a seizure. and here’s the funny part, my grandma tried to pay with the wrist band that you get when you go to Disney.

    The day after my “adventure”
    I was what my mom says “bouncing off the walls” metaphorically and physically. There were no signs of sickness and I remember that I was so so mad at my family for making me stay inside. I took a bubble bath and had a “photo shoot” with my mom. I was still incredibly bored and wanted to go out.

    What I remember
    The only thing I remember from Disney was get fast past tickets for splash mountain and the guy flirting with my mom and us getting another fast pass for free and then being extremely disappointed when it rained and everything shut down.

    Thank you for taking the time to read one of my six adventures! Another interesting one includes having one under water. That was fun. Not.

  2. This is very scary to see when your own child goes through this my child is 2 years old and has had 3. Her first one was last year and the 2nd was thànksgiving week ND the 3rd one hopefully last was about a week ago. I really wish there was more information given to parents about things like this or others even if it’s rare or extremely rare it never hurts because when something you didn’t know happens to your child you feel like you’re losing everything.
    When we went to the hospital they told it is was common but if it is so common why don’t we hear more about it. But reading others experience and knowing you aren’t the only one going through it it helps
    Thank you for posting this

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter just went thru the exact same thing , she is 2. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been thru. It does help to hear that it’s common but I do wish they would educate parents on this more.

  4. I had a febrile seizure when I was an infant and I remember my parents freaking out every time I had a fever. I now have a two and a half year old. She had her first febrile seizure at 16 months and her second one two weeks ago. Even when you know about them is terrifying I don’t think any parent is ever prepared to go through something like this. Is also nice to see mothers sharing their experience, which definitely makes you feel like you are not alone.

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