How To Treat A Fever

A rising temperature is no fun for your baby or you. Follow these pointers to help your little munchkin return to her healthy self.

Thermometer Alexandra Grablewski

  1. Prep the thermometer. Clean a digital rectal one (the most accurate option for babies less than 6 months) with rubbing alcohol, or soap and cool water. Coat the tip with petroleum jelly. Ear or forehead thermometers are fine for older babies.
  2. Take a reading. Place Baby on her stomach on your lap or a firm surface. Turn the thermometer on and insert it 1/2 to 1 inch. Or put Baby on her back, as if you were changing her, and lift her thighs. Wait for the reading before removing the thermometer.
  3. Know these numbers. Seek medical help immediately if your baby is 3 months or under and has a fever of 100.4 degrees or above, or if any age child has a fever over 104 degrees. Call the doc if any fever lasts more than 24 hours in a child under age 2.
  4. Offer comfort. If she has a low fever, let Baby rest and give her extra snuggles. Call your physician if she seems unusually irritable or lethargic, or has a cough or diarrhea. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen only if your doctor recommends it.
  5. Keep her hydrated. Offer your little one extra breast milk or formula to prevent dehydration. The bump in liquids will also help clear toxins from her body. If she has fewer than six wet diapers a day or is crying but producing few or no tears, call the doctor.

    Get-better hints

    • Look for a digital rectal thermometer with a flexible tip and a wide stem so it can't be inserted too far.
    • Don't take your baby's temperature immediately after a bath or if she has been bundled tightly. Both can affect the temperature reading.
    • To ensure your baby gets the full dose of a fever reducer, even if her stomach is upset, consider a suppository.

      How to Treat Baby's Fever

        Originally published in the March 2015 issue of American Baby magazine.

        All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.