A questionnaire survey was mailed to all members of the Child Neurology Society in North America to determine current methods used by pediatric neurologists in the management of febrile seizures and the influence of public awareness of phenobarbital side-effects on practice. Responses were received from 574 of 869 deliverable questionnaires (66%). The mean number of febrile seizures treated by respondents was 42 +/- 58 (mean +/- S.D.), of which 22 +/- 36 were simple and 19 +/- 31 were complex. In the control of the acute, continuing febrile seizure, intravenous phenobarbital, lorazepam, and diazepam were equally preferred and phenytoin was used infrequently. For intermittent administration by parents, diazepam was prescribed by 20% for seizure prevention and by 31% for control of seizure recurrence. Long-term phenobarbital was prescribed by 89% for prevention of complex febrile seizures and by 43% for simple febrile seizures. Parental anxiety was a factor in the prescription of intermittent or long-term therapy by 67% of respondents.