Children’s Temperature

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A fever is a temperature of over 37.5°C. Fevers are quite common in young children and are usually mild. If your child’s face feels hot to the touch and they look red or flushed then they may have a fever. You can check their temperature with a thermometer and measurements should be taken under the arm.

A childs normal temperature is about 36.4°C (97.4°F). Under the tongue, the normal temperature is slightly higher at about 37°C (98.4°F). This may vary a bit. If you’re worried speak to your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647. If the surgery is closed, contact your GP out-of-hours service. If you’re still concerned, or if your GP or out-of-hours service can’t come quickly enough, take your child straight to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital.

Always contact your GP, health visitor, practice nurse or nurse practitioner if:

  • your child has other signs of illness as well as a raised temperature
  • Your baby’s temperature is 38°C (101°F) or higher (if they’re under three months), or
  • your baby’s temperature is 39°C (102°F) or higher (if they’re three to six months)

If the doctor doesn’t find a reason for the temperature they may ask you to collect a urine sample in a sterile container so they can test for infection.

Treating a Fever

It’s important to keep your child hydrated. Even if your child isn’t thirsty try to get them to drink little and often to keep their fluid levels up. Don’t give them food unless they want it. Treat discomfort and fever with paracetamol or ibuprofen (always follow the dosage instructions carefully). The following suggestions may help your child feel more comfortable:

  • Give your child plenty of cool clear fluids
  • Undress them to their nappy or vest and pants
  • Cover them with a sheet if necessary
  • Keep the room well aired and at a comfortable temperature (about 18°C or 65°F) by adjusting the heating or opening a window
  • If your child is distressed and uncomfortable, try giving them paracetamol or ibuprofen. You can’t give them both at the same time, but if one doesn’t work you may want to try the other later. Always check the instructions on the bottle or packet to find out the correct dose and frequency for your child’s age

Know How Training’s popular paediatric first aid course gives candidates the knowledge and ability to deal with emergency first aid situations, particularly when dealing with children. It is an ideal course for parents and those who come into contact with children and those attending will gain the confidence and a range of skills so that you know what to do in a first aid or emergency situation involving a child.

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