The Essential Baby Fever Guide

The Essential Baby Fever Guide

One of the scariest parenting moments you can have is the very first time you notice your baby has a fever, and not knowing exactly what it means is what makes it so terrifying. As humans, we all experience fevers as a natural response from our body to illness or injury, but when it’s our little ones who are experiencing the fever we tend to worry more.

This simple guide is here to answer all of your questions about baby fever and what exactly it means for your child, and the different types of fever that kids might have. Armed with all of the knowledge and the right thermometer for your family’s needs, you’ll have peace of mind that you can take care of them to the very best of your ability.

What Exactly Is A Baby Fever?

There are many schools of thought when it comes to baby fever and what exactly constitutes a high temperature. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the temperature range for a healthy baby can vary between 97 and 100.4 degrees and anything over this usually indicates a fever.

Baby has a fever.

As our body temperature fluctuates at different times of the day and in different settings, especially for babies, it can be hard to know a fever is something to worry about.

Fevers are a very natural occurrence in the human body, and although not harmful themselves, are a symptom of another condition or illness. Because babies are unable to regulate their temperature the way adults can, fevers can quickly spike if they are overdressed or too hot, so we always need to keep a close eye on them.

Most parents will know just by touch if their baby or child feels a little hot and then reach for a thermometer to confirm their suspicions. Using your natural instinct, you should be able to feel by touching their forehead if they feel warmer than usual and can then take the necessary steps to check and treat their symptoms.

What Is Considered The Most Accurate Temperature?

Although there are many modern types of thermometer now available, it’s still believed that a rectal thermometer delivers the most accurate results when it comes to fever in infants.

This is because rectal thermometers are able to get the closest reading possible and when dealing with small babies the matter of a degree can be a huge difference in their health and safety.

For many families, the ease of using a digital thermometer that can be placed in the ear or an infrared forehead thermometer that scans the temperature without having to touch the skin makes for an easier method of checking.

However, due to the dangers present when a baby less than three months old has a fever, it’s best to use a rectal thermometer during these early stages.

The Types of Infant Fever

There are a number of reasons why your baby might have a fever, and not all of them are alarming. Here are some common types of fever and what to look out for if you think your little one is feeling warmer than usual.

  • Reaction to vaccination - Many parents have noticed that their little one develops a fever the day of or after their routine vaccinations, and this can occur at any age while they are being immunized. The doctor or child health nurse will likely give you information on dealing with the fever and other signs to watch out for.
  • Teething - Although many medical professionals believe that teething cannot cause a rise in temperature, there are countless parents who swear by their babies getting warmer than usual just before or as a tooth is erupting from their gums. 
  • Infection - If your baby is sick with a cold or other obvious illness and you notice a fever, the most likely cause is their body working hard to fight the infection. Unless they seem unwell or in pain the best thing to do is simply keep an eye on the temperature with a thermometer.
  • Overheating - As our babies can’t regulate their temperature as well as we do, they might have a spike in temperature if we’ve dressed them too warmly or have the room temperature too high. Check these possible causes first if you notice your baby has a fever or feels hot to the touch.

Know When To Visit The Doctor

For years, people believed that the fever was a sign of something serious and was immediately treated with medication, however recent advancements in medical science have shown that the fever isn’t always a bad thing.

It’s sometimes best to let the fever do its work in fighting off infection and helping your baby to get better unless of your course your child seems to be uncomfortable or in pain.

Doctors recommend that any infant under 3 months old should be taken immediately to the doctor if they have a fever, and straight to hospital if they are under 2 months old and with a fever as this is considered a medical emergency.

A children at a doctor's office.

A 3-month-old fever or older can usually just be monitored at home unless your child is showing other worrying signs like a rash, lethargy, or not eating and drinking as usual.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution if your child has a fever and you think they are unwell. Although a fever in itself isn’t dangerous, it can be the symptom of something more serious and so it’s best to regularly monitor their temperature with a quality thermometer.

Usually, babies are able to work through their illness, though, and the fever will be the one thing that helps to clear up the infection and make their body stronger.

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