It has been identified that many parents tend to worry too much when they discover a high temperature in their little ones. It is important to keep in mind that fever itself is not a life threatening illness but you do need to know what temperatute is normal, what is considered high, how to take an accurate reading and what action to take.
What is the average baby temperature?
The average temperature of a baby is around 36.4C (97.5F) but this does vary slightly from child to child. it is considered a fever/high temperature if yoir childs temperature is above 37.5C (99.5F).
How to determine whether your baby has fever or not?
There are several methods available to take an accurate temperature reading.
Ear – Turn the thermometer on – ensure you have read and understood the instructions and directions for use. Gently place the thermometer into your child’s ear, there is usually an audible indicator so you know when you can remove it. The digital display will display the reading and most have a memory option. This is suitable for children over 6 months of age.
Under the tongue– You will need to place the thermometer under the tongue of your little one. You should ask your child to keep his/her lips closed until you finish taking the measurement. This is more suitable for slightly older children who are able to understand and follow instructions. Recommended age is 4 ears or over.
Rectal – In order to take a rectal temperature measurement, you can keep the belly of your baby on the lap. Then you can get a thermometer, apply some Vaseline on its tip and insert into the rectum of your baby. It is important to hold the thermometer with your hand until it gives a beep sound. This is most suitable for babies aged 0-6 months.
When should I contact a doctor?
You should contact a doctor immediately in the following circumstances;
- You have taken a rectal temperature reading of your baby who is 3 months or younger and has a temperature reading of 38 C (100.4 F) or higher.
- Your baby is aged 3 to 6 months, is irritable, lethargic or unusually unsettled/uncomfortable and has a temperature of up to 38.9 C (102 F) or simply, if he/she has a temperature higher than 38.9 C (102 F)
- Your baby is aged 6 months to 2 years and has an unexplained temperature higher than 38.9 C (102 F) for more than one day. If however, there is a sign of illness you may want to contact your doctor sooner depending on the severity of the illness (ie cough, vonitting, diarrhoea).
What else can I do to help?
When you discover a high temperature in your baby, you should take necessary measures to make him/her comfortable by removing clothing. Clothes have the ability to insulate heat within the body of your little one, therefore, removing clothes has the ability to reduce the temperature and make your little one feel a bit more comfortable. You can also think about making him/her wear clothes that are made out of cotton as they facilitate more airflow. You can also think about bathing your baby when he/she has fever. However, you should only use lukewarm water and should stay away from cold water. You need to keep in mind that young babies do not have the ability to control their temperature.
What else do I need to know?
Fever can result in dehydration; you should let your baby drink more fluids instead of solid food. Breastmilk or water would be ideal.
If you keep these facts in mind and seek medical advice if you are concerned then your child will be well looked after – no matter what it is that is causing the temperature.