The parental reaction to a child’s first febrile convulsion was investigated by telephone interview from the Department of Paediatrics, Randers Central Hospital, Denmark. Interviews were conducted in 52 cases from 3-20 months after the convulsion. Fear that the child would die during the fit was volunteered by 44% of parents and another 33% admitted the same reaction when specifically asked about it. Appropriate treatment, i.e. cooling the child and/or placing him in a side position was used in 63% of cases. The child was vigorously shaken during the seizure in 15%. Changes in the behavior of the parents following the child’s first seizure included restless sleep in 60%, and dyspeptic symptoms in 29%. The frequency of parental behavioral symptoms rose dramatically if the child had more than a single fit. Many parents wished they had known more about fever and febrile convulsions in children. The general level of knowledge of febrile convulsions among parents of young children is low and the reaction of the parents to the first fit is often severe and persistent. Parents should be given written general information about fever and febrile convulsions, and information to parents who have witnessed a convulsion must be both verbal and written. It is concluded that parents of young children should be better informed about febrile convulsions before they occur. Well informed parents managed febrile convulsions better than those uninformed. 
COMMENT. The controversy concerning the long-term prophylactic use of phenobarbital in the management of febrile seizures and the consequent risk of a heightened prevalence of febrile seizure recurrence emphasizes the importance of parental education in the management of fever and febrile seizures. In the absence of a safe and satisfactory alternative to phenobarbital, parental anxiety may be allayed by the prescription of intermittent prophylactic treatment with diazepam at times of fevers but poor compliance minimizes its effectiveness in practice. The home use of rectal diazepam, employed more frequently in Europe than in the U.S., may offer an alternative method of parental involvement in selected cases.