Mother and Baby
Baby Health A-Z: Fever

It’s horrid but it’s your baby’s defence mechanism when fighting infection.

What is it?

A normal temperature is 36-37 degrees. Anything above that constitutes a fever. It’s often an indication that baby’s fighting an infection such as a cold, flu, sore throat or ear infection. Immunisations can cause your baby’s temperature to spike, as can teething. It rarely lasts more than a couple of days.

What are the symptoms?

Their brow, chest or back will feel hot to the touch and their cheeks may be flushed and their skin clammy. They may also be tearful and uncomfortable – partly from whatever’s causing the temperature, partly because a fever will make them feel unwell too.

What can you do?

A digital thermometer (available in pharmacies) will give an accurate temperature reading. Simply tuck it under their arm and it beeps when it’s ready to read. Ear thermometers are good but tend to be expensive and strip thermometers are less successful because they read the skin not the body temperature. 

Don’t let them overheat – strip them off

If your baby’s over two months you can give them infant paracetamol, over three months and they can have infant ibuprofen. Don’t let them overheat – strip them off. And offer plenty of fluid – regular breast/bottle feeds and cooled boiled water – to stop them dehydrating.

When to see your GP?

If your baby’s under three months and has a temperature of 38 degrees or higher, or under six months and is suffering at more 39 degrees or more then see your doctor because it is unusual for children so young to get a temperature. Similarly if your feverish baby has an unexplained rash or is particularly sleepy – both can be signs of a more serious problem. If little one’s refused fluid for more than eight hours or drunk less than half their usual amount in 24, it could lead to dehydration.

Very occasionally a high temperature causes a febrile convulsion

Symptoms include sunken fontanelles (the soft spots on their head), dry lips, darker than normal urine and/or fewer wet nappies. Very occasionally a high temperature causes a febrile convulsion. This kind of fit is scary but rarely causes any harm. Most children stop fitting within five minutes. You may want to take them to the doctor or A&E afterwards to get them checked and may even call 999 during it, especially if it’s gone on longer than five minutes or your child’s never had a fit before.

Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

A mum’s wisdom: Happy New Year! Brought to you by Palmer's

In part three of her new blog, mum Natasha talks about New Year's resolutions. Brought to you by Palmer's. 

Win an NCT antenatal course
Win an NCT antenatal course

Click here for your chance to win an antenatal course with NCT and make sure you're baby ready.

Subscribe to Mother&Baby
Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week.