When to check your baby for fever:
- If your baby feels warm to your touch, he/she may have a fever.
- Even if you think your baby has a fever, you should always check it with a thermometer.
How to check your baby for fever:
- Always use a digital thermometer.
- Take the temperature in your baby’s armpit or rectum:
- Armpit (axillary) temperature measurement is fast, easy, and safe. Place the tip of the thermometer directly into your baby’s armpit and close the armpit by holding the arm against the chest. Remove the thermometer when it beeps.
- Rectal (bottom) temperature measurement is the most reliable. Use a small amount of water-based lubricating jelly and insert the thermometer just until the silver tip disappears (1/4-1/2 inch). Remove the thermometer when it beeps. If it is hard to insert, remove the thermometer and do not force it. It could hurt your child.
- Do not use an ear thermometer in babies under the age of 6 months. Never use a regular digital thermometer in the ear.
What number is a fever?
100.4°F or 38°C or higher.
What to do if your baby has a fever:
- Fever itself is not dangerous. It is the body’s way of fighting infection. In babies younger than 3 months, fever can be a sign of a serious illness.
- Call your doctor right away or take your baby to an urgent care or the emergency room if he/she has a fever. Your baby will need to have some tests to make sure that he/she does not have a dangerous infection.
- Do not give your baby Tylenol, Motrin, or aspirin without first talking to your doctor. Tylenol is sometimes used in babies, but only after talking to your doctor. Babies under 6 months should never take Motrin, and children should not take aspirin unless suggested by your doctor.
- Do not put your baby in cold water or ice or use wet towels or sponges. This may make your baby shiver which could make the fever go even higher. You can take off extra layers of clothing, but he/she should be wearing at least one layer of clothing.