Kim Hunter’s two-year-old son Rocco died after a febrile seizure. Now Kim wants to share her experience to make sure all parents and carers learn some first aid.
“Rocco was an incredibly energetic, active boy. He got bored easily. He liked to be outside and helping me to walk the dog.
“The first time he had a febrile seizure I had no idea what was happening. He was 14 months old at the time. We were in a shop and he suddenly went stiff and his eyes rolled back.
“Thankfully some women in the store recognised what was happening from their experience with their own children. They reassured me while we waited for the ambulance.
“The paramedics were very calm – to them this kind of thing is normal but I was really worried.
“Only around five per cent of children who have seizures end up being hospitalised. I don’t want to scare parents or carers. But it’s important that people know the symptoms and what to do.”
Know the symptoms and how to help
Febrile seizures are caused by a fever or high temperature.
- The baby or child may arch their back, stiffen their body and have clenched fists. They look red-faced, are hot to touch and sweating.
- Protect the baby or child from injury. Do not restrain them.
- Help cool them by removing their outer clothes.
- When the seizure is over, help the baby or child to rest on their side with their head tilted back. If the symptoms continue or it is their first seizure, seek medical advice.
“Rocco had two more febrile seizures. They are brought on by high temperatures usually caused by a virus, but he had no underlying health problems. He was strong and healthy.
“The second seizure was just eight weeks before he died. His eyes rolled back and he went stiff as a board.
“Most children who have a febrile seizure can be treated and recover at home. But Rocco reacted more seriously to the increase in his body temperature.
“We took him to hospital where he was given oxygen. He stayed in hospital for three days.
“The last seizure he had was in his sleep. Rocco had been to nursery in the morning and I put him down for a nap. I had the baby monitor on but we didn’t hear a thing.
“He was sick during the seizure and choked on his vomit.
“I went to a neighbour’s house for help. The paramedics came and took him to hospital but this time he couldn’t be saved.”
“Since we lost Rocco I have good days and bad days. I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband. Also I have a nine-month old and a dog, who keep me going.
“I’ve started a foundation in Rocco’s memory to help inform new parents about febrile seizures – that’s something I feel I can do to help other people.”
“I wish I’d known just how common these seizures are and how easy they are to deal with, if you know what you’re doing. Now I’m really passionate about making sure parents are informed.
“Since Rocco died I’ve been in contact with hundreds of parents and we share similar experiences. It’s a problem that isn’t highlighted enough.