Every first-time parent gets concerned when they see their child is starting to run a fever. Even veteran parents may experience a memory lapse when it comes to remembering how to care for a baby with a fever. Sure, veterans parents have done this before–but that was years ago and lets be real, those early months are a blur. If you find yourself in need of knowing how to care for a baby with a fever there are a few things you need to know.
It’s hard for parents to know what the right thing to do is–we understand. We as parents are all doing our best to love our little ones to the best of our abilities and make sure they are healthy. Part of that means caring for them and being informed. We need to look at what causes fevers, how we measure fevers, and what to do when the fever is abnormal
What Causes Fevers?
Fevers can be caused by any number of things from an overdressed infant, to a hot summer day, and even as a small reaction to a recent vaccination. A fever doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby is sick, it is a symptom of illness. The struggle for parents is to determine if the fever is being caused from something innocuous, like a hot day or being overdressed, or if it’s being caused by an illness.
According to *Advanced Pediatrics Associates, “Most pediatricians consider a temperature 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher a sign of a fever”(Fever and Your Child, 2021). If the fever is being caused by an illness there are some other symptoms that are usually paired with the fever. Additional symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, or change in sleeping patterns. That being said, if the fever exceeds 100.4 call your pediatrician regardless of if there are secondary symptoms of illness. Fevers in children, especially babies, can change dramatically for the worse with seemingly no warning so monitoring their temperature is critical when assessing their condition.
How Do You Take A Baby’s Temperature?
There are a few different ways to take a baby’s temperature. The first thing to consider is which device you plan to use to take your baby’s temperature with. Here are some options to consider…
- Digital Thermometer: Digital thermometers are the most common devices to use when taking a temperature. They can be taken through the rectum, the mouth, or under the armpit and left in that sport for a few moments before the device will display the temperature. When it comes to babies and children, it can be a hassle to fight them for the few moments the device needs to get a reading, but it’s workable and often what most parents of babies and children use.
- Digital Ear Thermometer: These devices can be a little more expensive but they are quick to use. You inset the device into the baby’s ear and in seconds a temperature reading will display. Some parents like these devices over traditional digital thermometers because you don’t have to fight the baby as much to get the reading. However, know that there are disposable ear tip caps that need to be replaced often because of earwax buildup.
- Temporal Artery Thermometer: Before covid hardly anyone had seen these devices and now they have become commonplace. These are the forehead scanners that can get a temperature reading. They are simple to use, place the scanner on the baby’s forehead and in a few seconds a temperature reading will display. These devices are expensive and most households don’t have these. They are great when a daycare or a school needs to get the temperature reading of a lot of babies or children in a small amount of time. It is worth noting that of the temperature taking devices, this is the least accurate device on the market.
- LoveyQ Monitor: This is a wearable device designed for babies that can read your baby’s temperature regularly. What makes the device really useful is that while it checks your baby’s temperature it also monitors other symptoms such as heart rate, breath, cough detection and so forth. This way if your baby has a low fever at bedtime, the LoveQ device would alert you if their temperature has a sudden spike overnight. This product offers continuous monitoring and can track a multitude of different vital signs, as well. This allows parents to get a complete picture of their child’s overall well being.
How you take your baby’s temperature matters. For the sake of accuracy you need to make sure you are taking their temperature correctly and often. The Mayo Clinic has some helpful guidelines for how to safely and accurately take a temperature (Thermometer Basics: Taking Your Child’s Temperature, 2020). Whatever device you choose to use, make sure you monitor for other symptoms and check their temperature often.
What Do You Do When Your Baby Is Sick
In the event your baby’s fever is, infact, due to illness there are a few things you can do to help care for your sick little one.
- Medication: Knowing what medication to take really needs to get approval from your pediatrician first. Generally, for fevers, infant Tylenol is the recommended course of action for medication. The dosage will depend on how much your baby weighs. There is also a helpful insert inside the box as well. As always, check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any medication to make sure it is safe.
- Hydration: Keeping you baby hydrated is important. Babies get most of their hydration from their milk. However, when your little one is sick, their appetite is often off as well. The recommendation is to take pedialyte . It is a simple electrolyte solution that is safe for babies and it’s effective at rehydration. It’s simple, it’s sweet, and you don’t need a prescription to get any, most drug stores have this in stock (Pedialyte for Babies: Benefits, Dosage, and Safety, 2020).
- Congestion Relief: It’s important to note that kids under the age of 4 are difficult to treat for congestion relief because most decongestants are not safe at that age. Some helpful, non-medicinal, treatment options for congestion relief include…
- Saline solution
- Bulb syringe
- Humidifier or steamer
- Sleep: This is a hard one because babies and toddlers often rely on their caregivers for comfort and this can make sleeping while sick really tough. This means a lot of cuddles and anything to help make your little one comfortable.
Being sick is not fun for anyone, babies included. Truth be told, it isn’t fun to be the parent responsible for caring for a sick baby, either. Make sure you ask for help if you’re getting overwhelmed caring for your baby, too. It’s exhausting, but as parents we do everything out of love.
What Do You Do When The Fever Is Abnormal?
An abnormal fever is something all parents are fearful of and it can be easy to think that any fever could be an abnormal fever. An abnormal fever is one that lasts longer than 2-3 days or is coupled with a secondary concerning symptom. Examples of concerning symptoms include severe trouble breathing, seizure, shaking or chills, trouble moving, or any medical history that is indicative of a weakened immune system. When it comes to abnormal fevers in babies the key to managing the illness comes down to constant monitoring of symptoms. This is where having a wearable device, like LoveyQ, is absolutely critical to managing and tracking your baby’s symptoms so that they can get the care they need.
Now that you know the basic ins and outs of navigating your baby’s fever, rest easy knowing that there is a community of parents cheering you on and supporting you. We are all here to help support each other and share what we know. All babies get sick sometimes and you can handle this–you’re doing a great job!
Fever and Your Child. (2021, January 14). Advanced Pediatrics 2019. ).
Pedialyte for Babies: Benefits, Dosage, and Safety. (2020, May).
Thermometer basics: Taking your child’s temperature. (2020, November 20). Mayo Clinic.