Fevers in Children

If your child is less than three months old and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more, call your pediatrician immediately.

Even if your child is older, a child’s fever can be worrying. Fevers can make children uncomfortable and unhappy. They may cry, refuse to eat, or be fussy. Treating the fever can make your child more comfortable.

Why do kids get fevers?

When your child has a fever, it simply means that his or her body temperature is higher than normal. A fever can be the body’s way of fighting off an infection. You might think of this as the body’s temporarily resetting the temperature high enough to make the attackers uncomfortable.

While babies’ temperatures can rise with teething, teething babies do not usually have a temperature high enough to be called a fever. Some children also may get a slight temperature after a vaccination.

Treating a fever

Fevers make children uncomfortable. Treating a fever won’t make a difference to the illness causing the fever, but it can make your child feel better.

  • If your child is over 6 months of age, you can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Use the dosage your pediatrician recommends. Do not give aspirin. Aspirin has been linked to a rare but very serious condition called Reye syndrome.
  • Give lots of fluids, especially cool water. If your child rejects food and drink, consider offering Popsicles or ginger ale.

When to call the doctor

If your baby is three months old or less, call the doctor if he or she has a temperature of 100.4.

If your child is older than three months, call your pediatrician if he or she has a temperature of 104 or higher.

If a fever lasts more than five days, call the doctor.

If your baby has fewer than four wet diapers a day, or your older child doesn’t urinate at least twice a day, you may need to worry about dehydration.

If your baby cries and cannot be consoled or distracted, or if your child can’t be awakened, you should call your pediatrician.

If you are worried, go ahead and call your doctor. Your pediatrician will be able to tell you whether you should bring your child in. Do you need a pediatrician? Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics is an award-winning clinic with locations in Benton and Washington Counties.