Fever in babies and toddlers

Fever in babies and toddlersBabies and children are more likely to have an elevated temperature and fever than adults. Often it goes away by itself. But sometimes parents should have the cause clarified by a pediatrician.


"Fever is one of the
Most common causes, Why parents should visit the pediatrician's office or an emergency room with their child", says Dr. Alexandra Voigt, Chief Physician of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Helios Clinic Sangerhausen. In this interview, she explains how parents can help their child and when fever-reducing measures are useful. Why do babies develop. Children more frequent fever?

Children, especially toddlers, have a fever much faster than adults, as the Immune system not yet able to defend against many pathogens has formed. Thus, when they first come in contact with a virus or bacteria, they usually react with high fever. This is an important protective mechanism and an essential defense reaction of the body.

External circumstances such as thirst, activities or a too warm bath tub can also lead to an increased temperature in infants and toddlers.

Important to knowNewborns and infants may have a fever Have severe infections without a fever occurring. If parents notice in their offspring at that age, for example, reluctance to drink, changes in skin color, sensitivity to touch or other unusual abnormalities, they should consult a pediatrician – even if no fever is present. This also applies to children with an impaired immune system, for example, due to an underlying illness or medication.

Fever in babies and toddlers

Fever is one of the most common reasons for parents to take their child to a pediatrician's office or emergency room.

When does the child have a fever?

Healthy children usually have a body temperature between 36.5 and 37.5 degrees Celsius. Elevated temperature is when the body temperature is above 37.6 degrees Celsius. From the value of 38.5 degrees Celsius it is a fever. Babies under three months of age have a fever as low as 38 degrees Celsius.

Normal temperature:

– from 36.5 °C – in the evening usually 0.5 °C higher than in the morning – romping outdoors, sports, clothing and blankets that are too warm or even bath water that is too warm can raise temperature

Elevated temperature:

– from 37.6 °C – Important: let the child drink about every 30 minutes and check the temperature regularly – special care and attention for the child, possibly. Bed rest or quiet occupation – if the child is well, no further measures are necessary

Young babies under three months of age with a temperature of about 38 degrees Celsius, poor general condition, additional signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or when worried and uncertain.


– from 38.5 °C – Important: let the child drink about every 30 minutes and check the temperature regularly – keep the child on bed rest – offer easily digestible food – if the child is severely affected, take antipyretics in consultation with the pediatrician

– Older babies or toddlers up to two years of age who have a fever for more than three days – Older children over two years of age who have additional signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or an intermittent or repeated fever

High fever:

– from 39 °C – Important: let the child drink about every 30 minutes and check the temperature regularly – keep the child on bed rest – offer easily digestible food – do not wrap the child up too warm – if the child is severely affected, take fever-reducing medication in consultation with the pediatrician – possibly. supplementary abdominal compress or forehead cooling

Seek pediatric advice if:

– Older babies or toddlers up to two years of age who have a fever for more than three days – Older children over two years of age who have additional signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or episodic or repeated fevers, if the fever does not go down despite fever-reducing measures, if the child does not drink enough or in the case of a febrile convulsion

Taking a fever correctly in children: this is how to do it

"The most suitable thermometers are
digital clinical thermometers or infrared thermometers. In infants and toddlers, it is best to measure in the buttocks, as this is the most accurate", says Dr. Alexandra Voigt.

In the buttocks (rectal)

The temperature measured in the bottom comes closest to the temperature inside the body and thus provides the exact value. However, the method can be uncomfortable for the baby or toddler, so parents keep a few things in mind should:

– Put the child in a relaxed position and lay him or her on his or her back or side – Put some cream or petroleum jelly on the tip of the thermometer – Gently insert the clinical thermometer one to two inches into the bottom – Gently pull the thermometer out after the signal has sounded and you have taken the temperature – If necessary: Reare the child while you take the reading or distract him/her with a toy/story

Under the armpits (axillary)

Measurements under the armpit are in infancy often too inaccurate. Especially if the baby is moving around too much or the thermometer is not firmly stuck under the armpit, the value by up to two degrees.

In the ear (auricular)

Infrared thermometers detect the heat emitted by the eardrum in the ear. These clinical thermometers work very quickly. In children under three years of age, this method of measurement should be used with caution, as it is sometimes inaccurate and there is a risk of injury to the ear.

Parents should pay attention to this:

– Pull the child's ear back slightly so that the ear canal is uncovered – Now insert the ear thermometer carefully into the ear canal and wait until the measurement result appears – Important: immediately before the measurement, the child should not have been lying on the ear, otherwise the measurement result will be distorted

The temperature in the ear is approx
0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius lower than that measured in the buttocks. Temperature in babies. Lowering the temperature of children: When is it necessary??"Fever is a healthy reaction of the body and does not always need to be lowered immediately.", according to Dr. Alexandra Voigt. Parents should start fever-reducing measures when the body temperature is around 38.5 degrees Celsius or higher. In exceptions, for example Fever cramps or if the child is already suffering a lot from the fever and seems increasingly exhausted, however, the fever can and should rather be lowered.

To lower the temperature in children, there are several appropriate remedies in the form of suppositories, juices, drops or tablets. Parents should discuss in advance with the pediatrician what form and dose they can give the child. Medicines that help adults and contain acetylsalicylic acid should generally not be used in feverish children. Fever is a healthy reaction of the body. Does not always have to be lowered immediately.

What else helps with fever?

"If the temperature is very high, fresh compresses and wraps on the forehead, wrists or calves that are not too cold can help lower the temperature", According to the chief physician. Parents should also make sure that a child with a fever is drinking enough fluids.


be offered. Tea, juices or water are best.

Feverish infants who are still being breastfed should be given more frequent feedings in order to cover the additional need for fluids through breast milk. Breastfeeding as needed produces enough breast milk to quench thirst.


Suppositories are often given to small babies. They are
easy to use and work quickly. Suppositories are also the remedy of choice in the event of vomiting or if other remedies are refused.


As soon as children can sit, they may also be given a fever-reducing juice. This can be dosed better or more precisely. Doctors or pharmacists can advise on the correct treatment Dose based on body weight calculate exactly to the milliliter.


Especially lukewarm calf compress are a well-known household remedy to cool the body in case of fever. "Wraps and compresses should only be used if the child does not find the cold or warm application unpleasant", so Dr. Alexandra Voigt.

For young children, wraps or cool cloths on the forehead, abdomen or arms are more recommended. The wipes should be fresh. Not be too cold. Kitchen towels or large handkerchiefs are suitable for this purpose.

Here's how:

– Wring out the towels slightly – Wrap the towels around the calves, forehead or abdomen so that they fit snugly and place a dry towel on top of each one, followed by a woolen towel – Leave the wraps on until they have warmed up to the body temperature: about ten minutes for small children, about 20 to 30 minutes for older children – When the calves are warm again, the procedure can be repeated

Here's what to keep in mind about swaddling:

– Apply cool compresses and poultices only where the skin is actually warm. If the child has cold legs and feet, calf wraps must not be used under any circumstances. – Do not apply compresses if the child is cold or has chills. – Never wrap the wet compresses in foil or other waterproof material. This could lead to heat accumulation. – In young children, calf wraps should not be applied for more than ten minutes, otherwise there is a risk that they will cool down. Observe the child closely during application. Do not leave it alone. If the child feels unwell, the procedure should be discontinued and possibly continued later. – Basically, calf compresses should only be used in the case of very high fever of 39 degrees Celsius and above.

Bed rest:

Sufficient bed rest is important so that the child recovers quickly. Even if it seems little affected, parents should make sure the child is on bed rest and that
sufficiently recovered.


Fever-reducing medications can also be used on young children. Which drug is suitable and in which Dosage should be discussed by parents with their pediatrician Discuss.


Bed linens and towels, as well as sweaty clothing, should be changed frequently.

Important: Fever-reducing measures relieve the discomfort, but not the actual cause of the fever. This may need to be clarified by the pediatrician and treated and cured according to the underlying disease.

Three-day fever: What is behind it??

Three-day fever is a typical children's sicknesst. Almost all children go through it by the end of the third year of life. This is a case of three-day fever usually harmless viral disease, caused by a human herpes virus. Children can be infected by coughing and sneezing, i.e. by droplet infection. Once they have had the disease, they are immune for life.

The three-day fever announces itself by Sudden very high fever which lasts three to four days. Occasionally it also starts with febrile convulsions. As suddenly as the fever appears, it also disappears again. After that, the chest and the back show a Rash with small pale red spots, which can spread over the whole body – but rarely to the face or scalp. After two to three days the rash is gone. Overcome the infection. Sometimes the disease appears in such a weakened form that it is not even noticed. Because despite the high fever, the general condition is usually hardly or not at all affected.

In the case of three-day fever, only the symptoms can be treated, but not the cause. Here, too, it is important that the child drinks a lot. To rule out other serious illnesses, a pediatrician's office should be consulted.

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