Worrying About Baby's Fever?

11.25.08 Age and symptoms are key in dealing with a high temp


Most new parents can agree: There's probably nothing scarier than your baby's first fever. Actually, anytime your child has a high temperature. Babies can't complain, so a fever is often your baby's way of letting you know something's wrong. But according to health experts, the treatment for your baby all depends, The New York Times reports.

If a toddler or a preschooler has 103 F temperature but looks OK, it's probably just a virus and there's no reason for a rush trip to the ER. Pediatricians typically will advise to stick to liquids and over-the-counter medicine for your warm tot.

It's a whole different story when it's a baby 3 months and younger. At this stage, even a low-grade fever of 100.4 F is a concern; anything higher is seen as an emergency. Doctors agree that fevers are most serious in babies younger than 2 months, so consult with your pediatrician immediately.

In older babies with a fever between 101 F and 103 F, there's probably no need to call your doctor as long as there are no other symptoms—use your best judgment. However, do call the pediatrician if your older baby is tugging at his or her ear, vomiting, refusing liquids, etc., and especially if the temperature reaches 104 F.

Learn more over at our Fever: Friend or Foe? feature, which talks about the risks and benefits of high temperatures, plus fever-busting tips. Also, learn how to take your baby's temperature and other essential skills in our Baby-Care Basics section. Don't forget: Hand-washing is the best defense against illness-causing viruses and bacteria.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.