American Academy of Pediatrics

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 21, 2013; updated June 12, 2018

Neuroimaging (CT, MRI) is not necessary in a child with simple febrile seizure.

Imaging, including head CT, brain MRI, and skull films are associated with some risk and do not help with diagnosis or treatment of simple febrile seizures. MRI is associated with risks from required sedation and high cost. Head CTs can slightly increase the long-term risk for cancer.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) employed a three-stage process to develop its list. Using the Academy’s varied online, print and social media communication vehicles, the first stage invited leadership of the Academy’s 88 national clinical and health policy-driven committees, councils and sections to submit potential topics via an online survey. The second stage involved expert review and evaluation of the management groups that oversee the functions of the committees, councils and sections. Based on a set of criteria (evidence to document unproven clinical benefit, potential to cause harm, over-prescribed and utilized, and within the purview of pediatrics) a list of more than 100 topics was narrowed down to five. Finally, the list was reviewed and approved by the Academy’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

AAP’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


American Academy of Pediatrics. Subcommittee on Febrile Seizures. Febrile Seizures: Guideline for the neurodiagnostic evaluation of the child with a simple febrile seizure. Pediatrics [Internet]. 2011 Feb;127(2):389–394.

Matthews JD, Forsythe AV, Brady Z, Butler MW, Goergen SK, Byrnes GB, et al. Cancer risks in 680,000 people exposed to computed-tomography scans in childhood and adolescence: data linkage student of 11 million Australians. BMJ 2013 May 21;346:f2360.