Fever: Infants And Toddlers
A fever means your child's immune system is responding to an infection. Most infections are not serious. They're associated with common symptoms, such as a cold, cough or diarrhea. Most infants do not have any infections during the first 6 months of life. During this time, they are protected by their mother's antibodies that they received across the placenta prior to birth. The following tips apply to fevers in infants and toddlers:
- First: The most common cause of a high fever in an infant with an infection is over dressing. Most heat is lost through the skin, so clothing must be kept to a minimum. This is especially true for infants, since they're not able to undress themselves if they feel hot and become overheated.
- Second: When your child receives the DTaP vaccine, much of the fever and fussiness can be prevented by giving acetaminophen at the time of the injection. Once started, continue the medicine 4 times a day for a total of 6 dosages.
- Third: Call your healthcare provider immediately for the following situations: if your child is less than 3 months old and has a fever, if your child at any age has a fever over 104 degrees, if he has any serious symptom or acts very sick. Other children with fever can be cared for at home, as long as they can smile, play, appear comfortable, drink adequate fluids and sleep normally.
If you think your child may need to be seen, call your healthcare provider for advice.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 11/1/2003
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.