As a parent there is a good possibility that your baby will have a fever at some point. It can be a stressful and scary situation for first time parents. Your baby having a fever does not necessarily mean that something serious is going on. These are a few steps you can take to help determine what to do when your baby has a fever:
Determining if your baby has a fever (temperature)
First you want to determine if your baby has a temperature that is considered a fever. A baby’s normal temperature can range from about 97 to 100.3 F. Most doctors consider a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher to be a fever (Watson, 2023). You can take your baby’s temperature rectally,orally, under the arm, or at the temple. If you want the most accurate reading then a rectal thermometer is the best option.
When to call your doctor ( According to the American Academy of Pediatrics)
- under 3 months and has a fever. If you can’t get in with your doctor call 911 or go to emergency room
- Difficulty breathing or eating
- Very fussy (hard to calm down)
- Has a rash
- Shows signs of dehydration
- has a seizure
- Has diarrhea
How to treat a fever at home (if a doctor call is not necessary)
If your baby’s fever does not warrant a doctor call then there are a few ways to provide your baby with relief at home and help reduce their fever:
- Bathe in lukewarm water
- Dress your baby in light clothing
- Make sure your baby is getting enough fluids
- Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the two medications for children that help fight fever. Acetaminophen can be given to infants over 3 months without calling the doctor but children less than 6 months old should not be given ibuprofen. Read the instructions on the package or ask your doctor to be sure you give appropriate doses. Do not give more than the recommended dose of either medication. If your child is vomiting or dehydrated be sure to consult your pediatrician (Jovino,2010).
Remember if you are concerned at all about your baby’s fever don’t hesitate to call your doctor, regardless of your child’s symptoms.
Watson, S. (2023, September 29). Fever in infants: Signs of a fever, safe temperatures, taking temperature. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/fever-in-babies
Jovino, L. (2010). When your newborn has a fever. Nationwide Children’s Hospital. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/family-resources-library/when-your-newborn-has-a-fever