It’s a terrifying experience for mums and dads, with many recalling it as one of the worst moments of their parenting lives.
Melbourne mum of two Rachel’s experience was no different. She watched her 20-month-old son Benaiah have what was discovered to be a febrile convulsion when they were on holidays overseas; her fear compounded by a language barrier.
“My husband Deelan and I were in Mauritius in March 2017 with our then 20-month-old son, Benaiah, to visit family,” Rachel tells Mamamia.
“One night we noticed Benaiah had an infrequent cough. We put it down to swallowing a bit of salt water and weren’t too worried.
“When we woke the next day and it was still happening, I concluded he seemed to have a sore throat and just a little bit of a temperature. We grabbed their equivalent of Panadol and gave him the appropriate dose, and did so until the next day.”
Rachel found that Benaiah’s temperature was the same the next afternoon, so she gave him some more medicine and prepared for a family visit.
“He was happy in the bath, splashing me and singing. At the end of the bath he still felt warm, so I sent Deelan to see if he could grab something like Nurofen.”
That was when events took a sudden turn.
“As I was dressing Benaiah, I turned to get a piece of clothing and heard a funny noise - when I turned back he was seizing; he had gone as stiff as a board and was making small, jerking movements.
“The seizure lasted about 20 seconds and once it stopped he began to cry. The crying settled but he was very ‘out of it’ for the next half hour as we made our way to the local emergency medical service.”