0-4 months

PLAYING: Baby Fever

Add this post to favorites

Baby Fever

When your baby has a fever it is naturally a concern. Fever is a symptom that occurs when our bodies are fighting an unwanted intruder such as a bacteria or virus, and may or may not need to be assessed by your doctor.

4 mins to read Dec 7, 2023

Fever in babies is the body’s way of helping the immune system by stopping the bad bacteria from multiplying. It is usually not a concern if they are still eating, drinking and playing happily. They may just be a bit whingy and clingy but if you are at all concerned or your baby’s symptoms persist or deteriorate, you should see your doctor.  

The normal temperature for newborn babies is between 36.5 – 38°C but this can vary depending on where and when the temperature is taken – underarm (recommended for babies under 3 months) and mouth are the most accurate; in-ear & forehead digital thermometers are convenient but may not be as accurate.   Check the instructions to make sure you are using your thermometer correctly.

Baby fever temperature is anything above 38°C. It is common for fevers to spike in the evening and be lower in the mornings. 

When to take baby to hospital with fever?

If you are concerned about your baby, you should always seek medical advice. Never feel silly if you are concerned.

  • If your baby is under 3 months of age and has a fever over 38°C take them to a doctor immediately;
  • If your baby has a weakened immune system and a fever over 38°C you should see your GP or hospital emergency department immediately;
  • Baby fever that results in a rapid rise and fall of your baby’s body temperature can trigger a fit or what is known as a febrile convulsion or seizure. Seek professional help immediately if this happens to your baby.
  • Take your baby for a professional medical assessment if they have a fever plus any of the following:
    • a high pitched scream;
    • is lethargic;
    • is reluctant to drink their milk, or eat food;
    • has an unusual rash;
    • their condition is deteriorating in any way.

What to do when baby has a fever?

When your baby has a fever it is important to keep them cool, calm and hydrated. Provide them with opportunities of quiet play and rest. 

  • Keep them hydrated – If they are under 6 months extra breastfeeds or formula (if formula-fed) may be needed. For babies over 6 months, water can be offered in addition to their usual milk feeds.
  • Use tepid water (not hot or cold) when bathing as cold bath water can cause their body temperature to drop too quickly.
  • Monitor your baby’s temperature regularly, especially if you notice their behaviour is changing or symptoms worsen.
  • Over the counter pain relief such as children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen can help your baby feel more comfortable. Carefully follow the directions for use on the label, including the appropriate dose for your baby’s age and any warnings.

Trust your instincts – seek medical advice if you are concerned. 

How to dress baby with fever at night?

Avoid dressing your baby in too many layers of clothes as exposed skin helps the body to cool. Keep windows slightly open to allow fresh air to circulate or have a fan going. Check on them through the night.

Why do babies get fevers when teething?

When a baby is teething, they can experience a slight rise in temperature.  If they have a temperature above 38°C then it is more likely due to an infection and not teething.  When teething, the skin around the tooth can become inflamed and cause redness in the cheeks, which can also be a sign of baby fever. So it’s important to measure your baby’s temperature to help determine whether to seek medical advice.   Always seek medical advice if you are concerned about your baby.