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Ideal Body Temperature For Babies

By Devika

With an infant at home, parents need to be extra careful with everything that happens around the child and with the child. Parents dedicate their time and attention so that an infant is healthy and secured in every possible way, but it is not surprising to know that like adults, babies too fall sick and it is something not that alarming or to be terrified of.

As parents, we need to stay calm so that we can take necessary steps when required. Falling sick is definitely a part of growing up, but as parents, it is our duty to try our best to relieve our kids of the pain or illness that he or she faces.

When your infant has a high temperature, it can be frightening and depressing, especially for first time parents. It is therefore important to know and be able to identify what the ideal body temperature is and what to do if there are signs of a fever in your baby.

  • Understanding Normal Body Temperature For An Infant
  • Identifying The Occurrence Of A Fever
  • Causes Of fever
  • Determining If Your Baby Has Fever
  • What To Do When Your Baby Has Fever?

Understanding Normal Body Temperature For An Infant

Body temperatures are known to fluctuate. The high or low of the temperature depends on the person's body and also on the time of the day. Climatic conditions also play a role in determining the body's temperature. This applies to an adult as well as an infant. Going by what the American Academy of Pediatrics say, normal body temperature for a healthy baby is somewhere between 97 degrees and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e., 36 degrees to 38 degrees Celsius). Fever can be identified if rectal temperature is anything beyond this normal range.

Identifying The Occurrence Of A Fever

The normal body temperature, as we all know, is 98.0 degrees Fahrenheit, which is equivalent to 37 degrees Celsius. There is a "thermostat" in our brains that is designed to regulate our body to this average body temperature. When we fall ill, the thermostat resets such that the body's temperature is elevated. This happens so that the body can fight the cause of the sickness that has resulted in the fever (high body temperature).

A fever cannot be termed an illness itself. Fever is more of a symptom of an underlying cause. Although fever brings about a lot of discomfort, fever up to a certain temperature is not considered very bad as it is the body's way of helping us know that it is fighting an internal infection. Fever is the first and foremost symptom of several illnesses. Even critical illnesses begin with a sign of fever; therefore it is important never to overlook high temperatures, especially when kids are down with fever.

Causes Of fever

There could be several causes of fever. The primary cause being the presence of an infection in the body. Body's temperature rises when there is an internal infection. You might have observed that babies develop a low-grade fever post their vaccinations.

There are chances of fever spiking in infants or newborns when they are overheated or overdressed. This happens because small babies do not have the capability to regulate their body temperature when compared to the capability of older kids. Your baby might also develop a low-grade fever when teething happens. However, experts are of the opinion that teething would not cause high fever in babies.

Determining If Your Baby Has Fever

As parents, we would have observed that our instincts do work, especially when it comes to an illness that our little one is suffering from. A parent can easily identify if the kid's temperature is elevated just by touching the forehead and checking if it is too warm.

We also do try few basic home remedies when the temperature appears to be mildly high, such as placing a cool cloth over the child's forehead. However, when at the doctor's clinic, the nurse would want you to give them an accurate temperature. So, you would need to use a thermometer and get a reading before heading to the doctor's clinic.

For babies three months and below, the best way to take a temperature reading is using a rectal thermometer. Using rectal thermometer is quite simple and not at all complicated like many parents might make it appear to be.

Follow these steps to make a note of the rectal temperature. To begin with, lubricate the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly. You can either place the baby belly down on your lap with one hand around the lower back or place the baby facing up on a bed with legs bent against the chest. Insert the lubricated tip into the rectal opening maximum up to one inch. If the baby resists, you should stop. Cup your baby's buttocks gently but firmly so that the thermometer stays still. If using a digital thermometer, then remove it when it beeps. Note the temperature reading. Rinse the thermometer with soapy, warm water and rub alcohol.

What To Do When Your Baby Has Fever?

In case your child is below three months of age and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, please contact your child care provider immediately. If your child is older than three months and has a fever of 102.2 Fahrenheit or above, then call the doctor and inquire about what should be done.

As parents, it is our duty to be careful so that our little one stays healthy and hearty always. However, high body temperature is common in kids and usually gets cured on its own.

Story first published: Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 16:15 [IST]
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