Fever in Babies: A Guide and Treatment Tips for Parents

When you pick your baby up from a nap, you can feel the heat radiating from them, like when the heater is on full blast. your heart sinks Maybe your stomach is churning out of worry. baby has a fever Fever in babies is scary when you don’t know the cause.

Some fevers require immediate attention, such as fevers in babies and fevers above 105 degrees Fahrenheit in older children. A non-emergency fever in your baby indicates that your baby’s body is fighting a minor infection. there is.

What is Fever?

The immune system raises body temperature as the body fights off infection. The heat from fevers overcharges immune cells, slows down the rate of invading bacteria, and generally helps the body fight off infections.1

What is Fever in Babies?

Fever occurs when a baby’s internal temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If your baby is less than three months old and she has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, this is a medical emergency and your doctor may advise taking your baby to the emergency room immediately.2

If your baby is over 3 months old, you can usually treat it at home, but it’s a good idea to talk to your pediatrician. If your fever reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit, let your healthcare provider know or take you to the ER.

causes of fever in babies

Infectious diseases remain the most common cause of fever in infants. However, if your baby feels hot to the touch or has a “slight fever,” it may be temporary rather than contagious. An increase in temperature can occur due to:3

Conditions that cause these fevers are likely to resolve quickly. If you’re overdressed, just take off one or two of hers and you’ll be able to cool your baby down in minutes. A slight body temperature after vaccination or while teething she may last a day or two.

how to measure baby temperature

There are several ways to measure a baby’s temperature, and research has shown that some methods are more accurate than others. Also, it is important to note that some methods give slightly higher or lower results than others.Ten


Fridababy rectal thermometer

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Parents may be reluctant to take their baby’s temperature rectally, but this method provides the most accurate results with very young children.Four

To measure rectal temperature, follow these steps:Five

  1. Use a digital thermometer labeled specifically for the rectum.
  2. Apply lubricating jelly from the pharmacy to the tip of the thermometer and the baby’s anus.
  3. Gently push the thermometer 1/2 inch to 1 inch. For babies under 6 months, use the 1/2 inch measurement.
  4. Wait for the beep and record the result.

It is important not to push the thermometer too far, as this can perforate the baby’s rectum. Some rectal thermometers are specially designed to reach the correct depth. Whether you measure depth yourself or use special equipment, be careful. Stop when you feel resistance.


braun ear thermometer

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Use a tympanic thermometer to measure your baby’s ear temperature. They can be used on children 6 months and older.Five

To take temperature with a tympanic thermometer:

  1. Pull the child’s ears back (up and down if under 1) and insert the probe.
  2. Some manufacturers ask you to press the button before pressing it, some ask you to press it after pressing it. Follow the package instructions for this part.
  3. Point the tip of the probe between the opposite eye and ear and wait for the beep.

Your baby may not like this very much if he has an ear infection. If they are very picky when you try this, you can choose another method.


digital thermometer

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Armpit temperature has been the benchmark for parents for decades, but research shows it’s not very accurate.Five

To measure armpit temperature:

  1. Using a digital thermometer, press the button and wait for the beep.
  2. Place the tip of the thermometer in the center of the armpit and place your child’s arm firmly over it.
  3. Wait for the beep, then make a note of the result.

If you decide to use armpit measurements, remember to take the results as a more general screening rather than an exact measurement.


Braun 3 in 1 No Touch Thermometer

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Temporary thermometers measure heat waves coming from arteries just under the skin of the forehead. Using this method requires reading the manufacturer’s instructions, as they may differ slightly from each other.Five

In general, to get a transient temperature, follow these steps:

  1. Press the button to activate the device.
  2. Swipe the device from the center of your forehead toward either temple and slide it over and behind your ears. (This procedure varies by model.)
  3. Notice the results.

Non-contact infrared skin thermometers have grown in popularity since the Covid-19 pandemic began, but researchers still have some doubts about their accuracy.6

Temperature difference between methods

Different temperature methods may give slightly different results. Taking the same baby’s temperature in the rectum, mouth, armpit, and forehead gives different results (poor baby!). As a general guideline, the average normal oral temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The rectal and ear temperatures are 0.5 to 1 degree higher, and the armpit and forehead temperatures are often 0.5 to 1 degree lower than the average mouth temperature.7

Let’s look at an example. Your baby girl woke up feeling warm and acted fussy. Measure her temperature in her armpit which is 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit. When taken orally, the result was 100.1 degrees for her. A rectal temperature would have indicated her fever of 101.1.

If you are unsure of your baby’s temperature reading and are concerned about symptoms, contact your pediatrician. Get advice on your next steps.

baby fever symptoms

Fever doesn’t feel good. If you’ve had it as an adult, you can prove it. Your head may be aching, your muscles aching, and you may be iceberg-cold one moment, but fiery the next. It can get hot. Babies also feel all this and show it. Common signs of fever in babies include:2

  • excessive sweating
  • I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to drink
  • warm to the touch
  • flushed skin
  • annoyed and noisy
  • quieter and calmer than usual

Rarely, fever can cause seizures in young children. Call your pediatrician or 911 immediately if this happens. Most febrile seizures resolve quickly without complications.7,8

What to do when your baby has a fever

I took the baby’s temperature. As you suspected, they have a fever. So? Fever symptoms and the fever itself can be treated, but fevers have a purpose and don’t require immediate treatment.

baby fever treatment

If your baby becomes so miserable that you have to act, there are several ways to treat the fever. Your pediatrician may recommend giving your baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce symptoms of fever.2

Pay close attention to the bottle dosage. Otherwise, your provider may provide a dosing chart. Never give your baby aspirin. It can lead to a serious complication called Reyes Syndrome.9

baby fever tips and tricks

If you don’t want to medicate your baby yet, or don’t want to meds at all, but want to help your baby feel more comfortable, here are ways to lower your baby’s fever naturally.2

  • Dress your baby in light clothes.
  • Soak your baby in a warm bath.
  • Place cool washcloths on your forehead, wrists, and groin and replace them when they get warm.

More recent research has cast doubt on the practice of giving babies cold baths.Studies show that cold water baths don’t work well and can make babies suffer even more. Light clothing can also pose a problem if your is starting to shiver. You are the one who knows your child best. Feel your child and adjust as needed. Call your pediatrician if you have questions.Four

when to call your healthcare provider

Some parents want to know when to worry about their baby’s fever. Others think, “I’m always worried!” The list below will help you decide when to seek help.


Newborns up to 3 months of age must follow different rules than older babies. Call your pediatrician right away if your newborn has any of the following symptoms:2

  • Baby does not wet the diaper within 12 hours.
  • They cannot swallow anything and are drooling.
  • They are hard to wake up.
  • They have trouble breathing even if you clean your nose.
  • Their crying is inconsolable.
  • They look and act very sick.
  • I have purple spots on my skin.
  • Their rectal temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • They have stiff necks.

These signs may indicate that your child needs immediate medical attention, so don’t be afraid to seek medical attention or get help.

Fever symptoms that require immediate attention

Fever in older babies and children may occasionally require medical attention outside the home. Let your provider know if your older baby or child has:2,7

  • burning or pain when urinating
  • Fever for more than 24 hours with no apparent cause
  • Fever of 102 degrees or higher
  • Fever lasting more than 1 week
  • new rashes or bruises
  • You may need treatment for other symptoms that may indicate illness, such as sore throat, ear pain, cough

If your baby has a medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system due to illness or treatment, you should inform your healthcare provider about the fever immediately. If your baby has recently been vaccinated or taken out of the country, your provider will also want to know.

A baby’s fever can be unsettling. The best you can do for them is to monitor it and make sure they are comfortable. Treat their symptoms but let the fever run its course. Give it all and this too will pass.

1. https://academic.oup.com/9/1/26/5998648
2. https://www.childrenshospital.org/
3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/pii/S0262407920307314
4. https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/4/9/81
5. https://www.healthychildren.org/
6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/03091902.2017.1409818
7. https://www.mountsinai.org/
8. https://www.healthychildren.org/
9. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/
10. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/90-P02668

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