1. What causes fever?

A higher temperature shows that the body’s immune system is fighting something. There are many causes of fever in children, from common illnesses to coughs or colds and even after a vaccination.

2. What are the signs of a high temperature in children?

If your child does have a fever (when their body temperature rises above 38°C), you might also notice they:

  • Feel hot to your touch, on their forehead, back or stomach
  • Feel sweaty or clammy
  • Have flushed cheeks
  • Look or feel unwell

3. What's the best way to measure your child's temperature?

Digital thermometers are the most reliable way of measuring a baby or child’s temperature. Use the thermometer in the armpit of children under 5 years old. Always check your thermometer’s instructions, before using it. If your child has been wrapped in a blanket or recently bathed, wait a few minutes for their body to cool down, before taking their temperature.

4. How can you help relieve your child's fever?

If the fever is making your child uncomfortable, reducing it can help them feel better.

Medicine specifically for children, such as such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used. Nurofen for Children can be used to bring down a high temperature in babies from 3 months old who weigh more than 5kg. Please ensure to check age guidelines on products before giving to your little one. Give plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Allow them to eat if they want to and check on them regularly during the night. You can look after your child at home, since the temperature should go down over 3 or 4 days.

5. What is a dangerous temperature for your baby or child?

Most fevers are the result of mild childhood illnesses and can be managed at home. However, you should see a doctor if you feel worried or if your child is under three months and has a fever above 38°C. If your child is 3 to 6 months old with a temperature above 39°C, call your doctor.

For all other children, you should take them to see a doctor if the temperature is above 38°C and they have the following symptoms:

  • A rash
  • A temperature for 5 days or more
  • If they are not their usual self or don't want to eat
  • A temperature that does not go down after having medicine
  • Dehydrated (Look out of sunken eyes, nappies that are not wet or no tears when they cry).

Call the emergency number or take your child to A&E if they:

  • Have a stiff neck
  • Have a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it
  • Are bothered by light
  • Have a fit (febrile seizure) or can’t stop shaking
  • Seem to be getting more unwell, extremely agitated or drowsy and hard to wake
  • Find it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs
  • Are not responding like they normally do, or are not interested in feeding or normal activities
  • Have cold hands and feet, or have blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue

This is not an exhaustive list. In all health matters for further information or medical advice, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Although most of the illnesses that cause fevers or temperatures in children last just a few days, it can be a difficult time for both of you. You can help your little one feel more comfortable by dressing them lightly and giving them fluids frequently and an appropriate medication designed specifically for children. With your loving care most children will soon be back to their normal selves very soon.