It’s not unusual for babies and small children to get a mild fever. A fever is often a sign that your baby is fighting a virus or an infection, however, as a parent, it is natural to be concerned. For that reason, it’s important that you know the difference between a ‘normal’ temperature and a high temperature. This way it will be easier for you to judge when you think your little one is unwell or may need medical attention.
What is 'normal' for a baby's temperature?
The NHS states that a baby’s body temperature should range between 36.4 and 37.5 degrees celsius. Temperature does vary slightly from child to child so it’s a good idea to note down your baby’s temperature when they’re well, so that you know what their ‘normal’ body temperature is. A temperature of 38.0 degrees celsius or more in a baby under three months of age, and 38.5 degrees celsius or more in older infants is considered significantly high. According to the NHS, in general, a temperature above 37.5 degrees celsius is considered to be a fever.* More specifically, a temperature of 38.0 degrees celsius or more in a child under five is considered to be a fever.
If your baby is showing signs of a fever, you should take their temperature with a thermometer; you may find a digital thermometer is the easiest to use and the most accurate. Normal temperature varies depending on whether you take an internal or external reading, so it’s important to know what to look for depending on which type of thermometer you use and what part of the body you are taking the reading from.
- Normal temperature range with an ear thermometer is 36.0 to 38.0 degrees Celsius.
- The normal temperature range with a temporal forehead thermometer is 36.0 to 38.0 degrees Celsius.
- The normal oral temperature should be between 36.0 and 37.8 degrees celsius. Be sure to wait a few minutes if your baby has had any hot or cold drinks beforehand as this could affect the temperature inside their mouth .
- Normal armpit temperature should be below 37.2 degrees celsius .
- For rectal thermometers, the normal range is 0 to 38.0 degrees celsius.
As always, get in touch with a GP or healthcare professional if you’re concerned.
How to ensure your baby’s temperature reading is accurate
Using a digital thermometer can help to give you an accurate reading of your baby’s temperature, but there are a few things which could alter the accuracy of the readings. It’s best to wait a few minutes before taking your baby’s temperature if they have been:
- Wearing lots of clothes
- Having a bath
- Tucked up in a blanket
- In a very warm room
- Eating or drinking in the past 10 minutes
How often should you check your baby’s temperature?
When your baby has a fever you should be regularly checking their temperature to make sure they are okay, however, it’s important that your baby gets as much rest as possible to help fight the infection or virus causing the fever. Using a traditional digital thermometer can disrupt your baby’s sleep but the Nurofen for Children FeverSmart Temperature Monitor helps address this problem. The wearable monitor is synced to the FeverSmart app on your smartphone meaning you can monitor your baby’s temperature continuously without needing to disturb them, giving you peace of mind and making sure your baby gets plenty of rest. It is important that you always continue to monitor your child’s wellbeing and check for signs and symptoms of illness.
While it’s trying to see your baby feeling under the weather, most will recover from a fever after a few days without further treatment. If your baby is under three months and has a high temperature, you should visit your GP or speak to a healthcare professional immediately. For infants over three months, keep them comfortable, encourage them to drinks lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and be sure to keep the room well aired. Again, if you are worried, get in touch with a GP or healthcare professional.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.