Any time you’re worried about the health or safety of your child, it’s perfectly reasonable to see a pediatrician. Overcautious parenting is okay, whether it’s your first child or your tenth, and the health of your babies is always a priority.
Always trust your gut instincts. If you’re not sure, call the doctor.
For babies younger than 3 months, a fever is always urgent. Seek medical attention or go to an urgent care clinic immediately, even if it’s late at night. Don’t give medicine to babies under 3 months old unless you’re instructed to by a pediatrician.
Baby Fever Symptoms
The most obvious sign of a fever is an elevated body temperature.
Feverish babies might also have flushed cheeks and skin that’s hot to the touch, though these symptoms can also indicate overheating due to environmental conditions.
A fever is a body temperature greater than 100.4 degrees – anything lower than that is not considered a fever. In other words, a temperature of 99.8 degrees might seem high, but it’s well within the normal range.
For babies, the most reliable way to assess body temperature is with a rectal thermometer. Other types of thermometers, including underarm, ear, and forehead, aren’t as accurate.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If your baby is under 3 months old and his or her core temperature (as measured by a rectal thermometer) is 100.4 degrees or greater, take them to the doctor immediately.
Fevers over 104 degrees need medical attention, too, no matter how young your child.
For babies under 2 years old, seek medical help if his or her fever lasts longer than 24 hours – for children 2 years or older, go to the doctor if fevers last 3 days or more.
What to Do About Your Baby’s Fever
It might be hard on your nerves. Just remember that a fever is actually a healthy bodily response, because that higher body temperature helps fight off infections.
That’s why we treat the symptoms, not the temperature.
Your baby might have a fever, but if he or she seems reasonably comfortable, you may not need to provide any treatment. The same child with a lower fever may be squirmy, crying, and needy, and in that case, treat the symptoms.
Symptoms like fatigue, fussiness, and inattentiveness are better indicators of illness that temperature alone.
If you determine that your baby needs treatment, refer to the pediatric dosage chart to help figure out the correct dosage of medicine to treat your baby’s fever. You can also use a sponge bath to help bring down your baby’s temperature, and keep baby hydrated with plenty of breastmilk or formula.
Don’t wake babies to administer more medicine. Let sleeping babies sleep…and maybe get a little rest yourself!
And, as always, call your pediatrician if you’re ever unsure.