First Year Survival Guide
Common infant ailments and how to cope
“Generally fever is not a bad thing because it helps the body fight off infection,” Mahle says. “It’s extremely rare for a fever to do any harm: less than 1 percent of children have seizures during a fever.”
If you suspect that your infant has a fever, take his temperature. For an infant under 2 months, any fever over 100.4° warrants a call to the pediatrician, but in older babies, a low-grade fever shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Check to see that your baby isn’t overbundled and, if your doctor approves it, try a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the fever. You also can place a tepid washcloth on his forehead and body.
“Any fever over 103° [for older babies] that lasts more than 48 hours should be evaluated by your doctor,” Wager says. But, like most doctors, he says your baby’s behavior is a better measure of health than body temperature alone. If he’s fussy and crying inconsolably, or is sluggish and just not himself, call the pediatrician.