An infant fever is a sign that your baby is fighting an infection. Dealing with a fever can be stressful when you don’t know how high is too high or how to take your baby’s temperature. Here’s what you can do when you suspect your fussier-than-usual baby has a fever.
What temperature range is normal for an infant?
A temperature between 97 and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit is normal for newborns and infants.
How can you spot a fever in babies?
Aside from a warm forehead and confirmation via a thermometer, there are a few other signs of fever in infants, including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor appetite
- Doesn’t want to play
- Appears to be lethargic
How do I take my baby’s temperature?
There are a few ways to take a baby’s temperature. A rectal temperature reading is most accurate, but it’s recommended that you first take the temperature under the armpit. If it’s over 99 degrees Fahrenheit, take it rectally to gain a more accurate temperature. Here’s how to take your baby’s temperature rectally and under the armpit:
1. Under the Armpit
Remove your baby’s shirt and dry the armpit. Turn the thermometer on, insert it into your baby’s armpit and make sure the bulb is touching baby’s skin for an accurate reading. It’s easiest to pin your baby’s arm close to their side until the thermometer beeps.
Turn on a clean thermometer, and with your baby on her back, raise her legs and insert into baby’s rectum, no more than an inch deep. Keep a firm grip on the thermometer until it beeps to ensure an accurate reading. When done, cleanse the thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soapy water and air-dry.
Related: Get more info on the types of thermometers for fever in children
What’s considered a high temperature for a baby?
If your baby is younger than 3-months-old, any temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is serious and you should have your baby seen by a medical professional right away. If your baby is older than 3 months, her behavior is a good indicator of how serious the infant fever is.
When should I call the doctor?
If your baby has a fever and is eating, sleeping, and playing normally, it’s not as much of a concern. But if your baby has an elevated temperature and is dehydrated, lethargic, overly cranky and fussy, not eating well, or having trouble breathing, consult your pediatrician immediately.
How can I bring an infant fever down?
Wiping your baby’s skin down with lukewarm water can help, as can over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen. Dressing your infant in light clothes and staying in a cool room can also help. Also, make sure to keep the baby hydrated with breast milk or formula.
Yes, baby’s first fevers can be scary, but they’re usually nothing to worry about. Just keep a cool head, know the warning signs, and remember that every parent goes through this.