Baby Fever: Taking Your Child’s Temperature

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Baby Fever: Taking Your Child’s Temperature

<img alt=”Baby Fever”>

Description: A good number of parents rush to the hospital when in need of taking temperature for a baby with a fever. However, there are simple ways you can achieve this at home and even reverse the fever for good.

Rule number one during baby fever – do not panic.

Our bodies act up from time to time in response to various events. You’ll sweat more, and your temperatures will rise after a workout session, a heavy meal, or when out in the heat of the day. Similarly, when your body is trying to fight a viral or bacterial infection, the body’s thermostat will naturally raise its temperature, resulting in a fever. However, the dynamics are more complicated than we can explain in a single article. Moreover, it’s not every time your body’s temperatures will rise when suffering from an illness. Similarly, you may have a severe disease without changes in body temperature.

But What Happens if a Baby Gets a Fever?

It’s during such trying times that the patience of the parents is put to the test. Babies, especially younger than one year, are more fragile and susceptible to illnesses. They can’t communicate this unless through indirect signals such as crying, refusing to eat and drink, and difficulty falling asleep. The younger they are (three months and under), the riskier and more attentive parents ought to be.

But what’s baby fever, and exactly how should parents go about taking temperature for a baby with fever?

Understanding Baby Fever

Generally, parents are ordinarily cautious around newborns and toddlers. They do their utmost to keep the environment clean and feed the baby promptly. Regardless of how much care and attention you give the baby, they may fall ill at one time or another. This could be due to pathogens in the air, improper diet (from what you eat as you breastfeed), or even due to environmental and climatic changes.

Is the child behaving abnormally? Check to see if all is well.

As the baby’s body goes on defense mode, certain mechanisms may take place to aid this quickly. The body will require more energy to repair any broken systems and heal and renew cells in the process of autophagy. Parents usually make the mistake of feeding children more during such an event, but this is wrong since a lot of that energy goes into digestion rather than healing.

Because of the extra energy in the body, the brain, specifically, the hypothalamus (that is, the body’s thermostat), reacts by sending messages to the body to raise temperatures above normal levels.

The result – baby fever with high temperature.

Especially for younger kids, the baby temperature is one of the most direct signals to parents to raise the alarm bells and dig deeper. There are home baby fever treatment options, but there are cases when you need to consult your pediatrician.

Taking Temperature for Baby

Technology has a ton of pros and cons in all areas, especially medicine. Right now, it’s possible to take the temperature for the baby more accurately while at home than it was a while back. There are different options available in the market, and we will list down the best baby products according to the order of their effectiveness.

When learning to take baby temperatures, parents should be careful of methods out there that purport to be efficacious but fail to deliver on precision. These include;

  • Fever strips
  • Smartphone apps
  • Digital pacifier thermometers.

Mercury thermometers may be dangerous in the event of breakage as the fumes may cause unprecedented damage to you both.

Thermometer options for taking temperature for baby include the following;

  1. Digital Thermometers: They are considered the most accurate and safest to use when taking temperature for a baby. They measure baby fever temperature through electronic heat sensors that are harmless to the child.
  2. Temporal Artery Thermometers: These rely on infrared rays to scan through the temporal artery in the head. Requires minimal supervision and can be done even with the baby asleep.
  3. Tympanic Membrane/Digital Ear Thermometer: Here, the infrared rays are directed inside the ear canal. However, if the canal is small and curved or laden with earwax, the reading may be a bit altered. 

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Guidelines to Using Thermometers Across Different Ages

Pediatrics recommend four different places to take measurements of temperatures for babies. These are rectal, forehead, ears, and under the armpits. Each has its advantages and disadvantages: many parents prefer not to penetrate thermometers in their baby’s anus or ears for apparent reasons.

Here are a few guidelines to get you started: 

AGEGuidelineDirection of Use
Birth – 3 MonthsRectal/Bum/AnusRead guidelines before use.Start by cleansing and disinfecting the thermometer’s tip before and after use.Apply some Vaseline on the baby’s bum as well as silvertip.Place baby on their back or on your lap having their knees bent downwards.Gently insert the thermometer about an inch deep.Remove once you hear the beep and read the readings.ForeheadRead instructions to find out how the distance the digital thermometer should be from the forehead.Turn the thermometer on.Gently sweep it across your child’s forehead.Take the measurements at the sound of the beep.ArmpitTurn the thermometer on.Place it under the armpits while touching the baby’s skin.Hug your child on the side of the thermometer reading to keep it in place.Remove the thermometer and read the number once you hear the signal. 
3 Months –4 YearsTemporal artery thermometerDigital ear thermometer (6 months onward)When measuring ear temperature, read the instructions to ensure you have placed the thermometer at the proper distance. Turn it on and insert directing it to the ear canal. Hold it tightly until you hear the signal. Remove, read, and wash.
Older than 4 YearsOral thermometersDigital armpit thermometersTemporal artery thermometerDigital ear thermometerAt four years, the child is old enough to hold the thermometer for themselves without fussing. Oral temperatures are commonly used some 30 minutes after hot or cold drinks. Place the thermometer’s tip under your towards the back end and ask them to hold it in with their lips. Remove once you hear the signal.

With that in mind, the next question would be, what would be a normal and abnormal body temperature for a baby? Baby fever temperatures would range from anything above 100.4°F. As for baby fever low temperature, anything below 95.5°F needs a careful look.

With time, the child should be able to diagnose themselves.

Baby Fever Causes and Treatment

High temperatures should not be solely relied upon as the basis of disease. Try to check out other disturbing symptoms that may cause alarm. These include when a baby;

  • develops a change in skin color
  • has no interest in playing
  •  is not eating and drinking normally
  • is unusually distracted and has no interest in you
  • is crying without a reason
  • experiences a change in the color of the poop.

Other than an infection, other baby fever causes include overdressing (which most parents are particularly fond of), weather changes, dietary changes, and immunizations.

Baby fever during teething is also somewhat normal as the baby’s body undergoes growth and development. If the fever lasts for more than five days, seek medical attention.

Effective Baby Fever Treatment Methods

Knowing how to take taking temperatures for a baby is one thing and getting to the root cause and addressing it effectively is another. Doctors will generally recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen as baby fever medicine and warn against using aspirin.

Medication should always be the last line of defense.

However, some simple remedies would be to check on diet. Eliminate sugary drinks and processed foods which most kids are fond of. Check the temperatures around the house and dress your kids up accordingly. If the home temperatures are warm, dress them lightweight with a light blanket or sheet.

Taking the baby through lukewarm sponge baths is also another way to release much of the body heat. It’s a temporary method that makes several kids uncomfortable. Ensure you don’t use alcohol rubbing or ice packs for babies.

Finally, take it easy. A good rest can be healing to the bones or, at times, a different setting. Take a walk to the pack on a sunny morning or bask with the child and get lots of rest. What other home remedy works for you when your child has a fever?

Rachel Hudson
Rachel Hudson is a journalist and a therapist living in California and covering all the topics related to children. She is mainly writing about kids' physical health. However, since she has a Ph.D. in Child's Behavioral Psychology, she often covers topics related to their mental health.

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