One thousand four hundred and three children participated in a home-based survey of psychiatric disorders in 8- to 12-year-old children in Calicut District, Kerala, India. One thousand one hundred and ninety-two consecutive children underwent neurological and psychometric assessments. The projected number of children with a history of febrile seizures was 120 giving a lifetime incidence of 10.1%. Recurrent febrille seizures predominated and these were strongly associated with a history of perinatal adversity. Febrile seizures were independently association with indices of infective illness and mothers' education. Epilepsy developed in 2.7% of children with febrile seizures, but no evidence was found that febrile seizures had adverse intellectual or behavioural sequelae.