Fever, Child

If your 3 month old or younger baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, this could be a serious infection or problem. Your caregiver may suggest a series of tests. Based upon the results of those tests, the baby may need to be hospitalized.

There may also be a serious problem, if your baby who is older than 3 months, has a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine. Blood, urine and other tests (such as X-rays) may need to be done.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Do not bundle your child up in heavy clothing or blankets. Use light clothing and bedding to help your child stay cool.

  • Give extra fluids (such as water, frozen pops and oral hydration solutions) to prevent dehydration. Your child should drink enough water and fluids to keep his/her urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Use medication to help to relieve discomfort and keep the temperature down. Only give your child over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort or fever as directed by their caregiver. Do not give aspirin to children because of the risk of complications.

  • Check your child's temperature if he or she feels warm to touch. A rectal thermometer is most accurate for babies.

  • If you are unable to control the fever, you can sponge or bathe your child in lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Never use cold water or alcohol to sponge a feverish child. Make sure the water feels neither warm nor cold to your touch.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child has seizures, repeated vomiting, dehydration, spreading rash or difficulty breathing.

  • Your child has repeated episodes of diarrhea.

  • Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.

  • Your child has persistent coughing.

  • Your child has inconsolable crying.

  • Your child has painful urination.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.