A fever in infants and children can be scary, but it is common. It means your child's body is most likely reacting to an infection.
Your child has a fever if her temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees F by rectum. A rectal temperature is most accurate for children younger than 2 years old.
The degree of fever does not always show how bad an illness may be. Children often run a higher temperature than adults for the same illness.
More important than the fever is how your child looks and acts. Watch your child for signs of illness that include:
Call your health care provider for an appointment if:
If you think your child is ill and you aren't comfortable with the way she looks or behaves, call your health care provider for an exam as soon as possible, especially if your child has a fever and is unusually irritable, appears ill, has a stiff neck or has problems breathing.
There are five ways you can take a temperature. Tell your health care provider knows which way you used.
If you have a mercury thermometer, take it to a household hazardous waste collection facility. Do not use it and do not throw it in the garbage.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic