Is This A Normal Baby Temperature? What Temperature Is A Fever?

Infectious Diseases

Is This A Normal Baby Temperature? What Temperature Is A Fever?

 

Knowing your child’s temperature is really important and can be quick way of telling us parents if they are sick. Often times when you go to see your child’s doctor and they are sick you will be asked if your child has/had a fever, how high it is and how many days it is lasting for.

 

Normal baby temperature

Determining normal baby temperature depends a lot on where you are taking the temperature.

This table is a great guide for normal temperatures.

Location Celsius (oC) Fahrenheit (oF)
Rectum 36.6 – 37.9 97.9 – 100
Mouth 35.5 – 37.5 95.9 – 99.5
Armpit 34.7 – 37.3 94.5 – 99.1
Ear 35.8 – 37.9 96.4 – 100.4

This guide is not just for babies and can be used as normal temperature for children and adults.

Fever identification is best done with a rectal thermometer in children less than 2 years of age. But few parents are eager to perform rectal temperature readings. Mouth temperatures are reasonably accurate, followed by armpit or axillary temperatures. Ear thermometers are routinely inaccurate (try taking the temp in each ear – you will likely see a discrepancy), and more so in ear infections when the infected ear is often warmer. When in doubt, see your doctor for an accurate reading.

 

Your kid’s behavior and how they are acting is also important.

What temperature is a fever?

Anything above the normal range by ~0.5o is considered a fever. A fever can seem scary but it’s a way that the body helps fight all sorts of infections. Your kid’s behavior and how they are acting is also important. For children less than 6 months you should see your child’s doctor if they have a fever. Babies less than 2 months of age are not able to fight infections as easily, and fever in this age group may signal a bacterial infection. If you have a child younger than 2 months with a fever, please seek medical attention ASAP. For older children a fever will typically last for 72 hours or less and can be treated at home. After 48-72 hours of fever, I suggest seeing your doctor to rule out any treatable infections. And of course, if your child is unwell, see your doc!

Babies less than 2 months of age are not able to fight infections as easily, and fever in this age group may signal a bacterial infection.

Being able to identify a fever in your child should be part of your parental first aid kit. It’s a great first step in deciding if your child needs to be seen by a doctor.

Quick Tips

  • Normal body temperature is about 37oC or 98.6oFDina-TakeAways-1(386)

  • A fever is anything above 38 oC or 100.4 oF

  • Fever is not the whole story – pay attention to your child’s behavior!

  • For febrile children < 2 months – see your doctor immediately.

Does your child demonstrate signs of a kidney infection? Or symptoms of pink eye? What is the best medicine for sore throat?

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Dina M. Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

About Dina M. Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.

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