One minute your baby is happy and lively, and the next minute he’s fussy and running a temperature. Babies can get fevers for many reasons, and most of the time, they are not dangerous or worrisome. A fever in a baby is defined as 100.4 or higher (rectal temperature is the most accurate, although you may also take a baby’s temperature orally, under the armpit, or on his forehead). Newborn fevers are a special case and always require at least a call to the pediatrician, as they are more susceptible to serious illness and infection during the first three months. If your baby is older than three months and has a fever, here are some common causes.
- Ear infection
- Common cold
- Recent vaccinations
Babies are much less efficient at regulating their body temperature than adults, which makes them more susceptible to fevers. Temperatures between 100.4 and 105 are actually fairly common in sick infants. Although it may seem scary, a baby’s fever may climb much higher than an adult’s temperature. Many people circulate the concern that high fevers can cause brain damage. While this is true, only extremely high (above 107) fevers can cause damage. A fever is actually a good thing – it means your baby’s body is trying to fight off an infection. A fever is an immune response to something wrong in the body. Therefore, a fever in itself is not worrisome, but the underlying cause of the infection may be cause for concern.
A fever that is not accompanied by other symptoms is usually harmless. Here are some danger signs to look out for when monitoring your baby’s fever.
- Lethargy, extreme sleepiness, lack of usual energy level
- Decreased wet diapers
- Dehydration, dry lips, cracked skin
- Crying, inconsolable
- A fever that does not change even with medication
- A fever that does not break even after two days of antibiotics
- A fever that is higher than 104
- A fever in a baby that is younger than three months old
Go to the nearest emergency room if your baby has a seizure or his temperature rises above 107.
Fevers often accompany respiratory illnesses. Babies, especially newborns, need adequate oxygen at all times, so call your pediatrician immediately if your baby struggles to breathe. Wheezing, grunting, pulling in the muscles around the ribs, and white or blue skin are all signs your baby is having difficulty breathing and needs to be seen by a doctor.
Although fevers have often been linking to teething, recent research shows that’s not necessarily true. Some studies show that there is a slight rise in body temperature during the time a tooth erupts, but not anything worrisome. There are many other signs more closely related to teething such as excess drool, rosy cheeks, tugging at the ears, and frequent crying.
If you’re concerned about your little one’s temperature, KeaBabies has two types of thermometers you can use! The KeaBabies Digital Thermometer is designed for taking your child’s temperature orally, rectally, or under the armpit. It is soft, flexible, and non-invasive. It also comes with a storage case to ensure it stays clean at all times. The KeaBabies Ear and Forehead Infrared Thermometer is great for squirmy babies or toddlers who don’t want to sit still long enough to get a good reading on a standard thermometer. The KeaBabies Ear and Forehead Thermometer is silent, easy to use, and fast! It also has color warnings to make it even easier to read – green means your child’s temperature is normal, and red means your child has a fever. Keeping either of these products on hand can make checking your child’s temperature simpler and easier!
There are a few ways you can help lower your child’s fever naturally. First, remove any excess clothing. It may seem counterintuitive to strip down an exhausted, frustrated, sick baby, but piling on the layers and using too many blankets can prolong a fever. If your child feels very warm to the touch, try letting them relax in just a diaper or loose t-shirt for a while. Some parents also give their child a lukewarm bath. This can help lower your child’s temperature while enabling them to relax and calm down. Skin to skin contact may also help your little one, as it has been scientifically proven to help a baby regulate body temperature.