Tot struck by fit - Parents' message after febrile convulsion

PUBLISHED: 14:10 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:44 10 June 2010

THE parents of a toddler who turned blue and stopped breathing after suffering a febrile convulsion are warning others to be aware of the symptoms.

THE parents of a toddler who turned blue and stopped breathing after suffering a febrile convulsion are warning others to be aware of the symptoms.

Hope, two, was struck down by the seizure on Sunday after her temperature reached 39.56C - it should have been around 36C.

Her parents, Matt and Amy Baker, of Sidmouth, were taking Hope to hospital when only a couple of minutes into the journey at the Bowd, she had the fit.

Matt, 32, an emergency care assistant, said: "She was stiff as a board, really blue and her eyes were fixed and dilated. She wasn't moving or breathing. It's a parent's worst nightmare - she was dying in front of us as far as we were concerned."

Amy, 25, a manager at Primark, said: "At that point we just didn't know if she was going to start breathing again."

Fortunately both Matt and Amy are trained in basic life support and the pair sprung into action.

They pulled over, took Hope's clothes off to try to reduce her temperature and Matt gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the boot of their car.

After about four breaths Hope started breathing and the South West Ambulance rapid response vehicle arrived on the scene, quickly followed by a land and then an air ambulance.

Matt and Amy have praised the staff at the Bowd Inn, who did everything they could to help, the paramedics and two motorcyclists who stopped to assist.

However they say they were shocked by the amount of people who stopped their cars to watch.

Matt, who is also a retained fireman, said: "The sad thing was the people who were prepared to step back and watch while I was trying to save my daughter's life. It was disgusting."

Hope was taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by Devon Air Ambulance and doctors diagnosed her with a suspected ear infection.

She was released the following day and is recovering well.

Now Matt and Amy want to raise awareness of febrile convulsions, which affect around one in 30 children usually between the ages of six months and four or five years.

Amy said: "If we had known more about febrile convulsions and how it is brought on, we would have been more prepared. They are quite common, but not many people have heard of them. If it happens seek medical advice straight away."

Hope's parents were warned she is likely to suffer another febrile convulsion in the future.

Febrile convulsions - what you need to know...

What happens when a child has a febrile convulsion? During this particular type of seizure the child loses consciousness, becomes stiff, stops breathing and often loses control of their bladder.

Does the child suffer discomfort or pain during a convulsion? No. The child is unconscious and unaware of what is happening. The convulsion is much more disturbing to you than the child.

What brings it on? Any illness which causes a high temperature, usually a cold or other viral infection.

What should you do if your child has a febrile convulsion? Lay the child on their side, with the head at the same level or slightly lower than the body. If it is the first time the child has had a febrile convulsion he or she should be admitted to hospital

Will it happen again? Possibly. Of ten children who have a febrile convulsion about three or four will have more than one. The risk of having another gets rapidly less after the age of three years.

Advice from a Working Group of the British Paediatric Association and the Research Unit of the Royal College of Physicians.

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