1. A High Temperature

If you’re worried that your baby may have a fever, you should check their temperature with a thermometer.

When to see your doctor:

If your baby is under three months and has a fever, even if it’s just a mild one, you should take them to the doctor.3 If your baby is between three and six months and has a high fever (anything above 39°C) then they should also be taken to the doctor.

For all other children, take them to see a doctor urgently if they have a fever along with any of the following symptoms:

  • temperature over 40°C (this is a very high fever)
  • shivering, uncontrollable shaking or chattering teeth
  • severe headache that doesn’t improve after taking pain relievers
  • difficulty breathing or breathing differently
  • confusion, unusual drowsiness or can’t be woken up properly
  • floppiness or leg pain
  • hallucinations
  • vomiting
  • a stiff neck
  • a skin rash that doesn’t disappear when you press the skin

Also take your child to a doctor if:

  • they have a fever above 40°C (this is a very high fever)
  • they are still feverish after three days of treatment at home
  • they seem be getting more unwell
  • you are concerned for any reason

Remember that what is considered normal temperature for the forehead isn’t necessarily the same as normal temperature for other parts of the body, so it’s important to know [what temperature your thermometer should be reading depending on which type of baby thermometer you are using.

More often than not, your baby’s fever will pass after a few days with no complications. A rising temperature is the body's way of fighting off illness, so although it’s worrying when your baby has a fever, it does mean that their immune system is working the way it should be. However, if they seem unwell and you are concerned, it is important to seek medical advice from your doctor.

2. Shivering

Feeling shivery on the outside, can be an indication of a fever. If you suspect your baby has a fever, check their temperature with a thermometer. If your baby does have a high temperature, dress them as comfortably as possible, encourage lots of rest and keep the room well aired.

3. Appearing Hot and Flushed

When your child has a fever, their forehead, back or stomach may feel hot. For an accurate reading of your baby’s temperature, you should use a thermometer. If your baby does have a high temperature make them comfortable and try offering liquids such water, diluted juice, milk or whatever they usually drink.

4. Irritable

You know your baby best so trust your mother’s instinct. Crying more than usual, or a cry that sounds different, could be related to a fever. Equally, if your baby seems more lethargic this could also be associated with your child’s fever. Keep an eye on your baby and monitor their temperature regularly with a thermometer. If you are concerned you should visit your GP or speak to a medical professional for advice.

5. Loss of Appetite

If you notice that your baby does not want to drink as much as usual, or eat if they are old enough for solid foods, it could mean that something isn’t quite right. Offer regular feeds to keep them hydrated and note down how much your baby is feeding, so that you can talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.