All children will come down with a fever from time to time. A fever means the body’s temperature is on average 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees celsius) or higher. Usually a fever is not dangerous or bad for children – and can actually be a good thing because it is their body’s way of fighting infection. A high fever helps the body stimulate the immune system, making it harder for more germs to grow within the body.

In addition to a high temperature, other signs of a fever can include, feeling warm, having chills or sweating, having red flushed skin or cheeks, breathing faster, or acting more fussy, cranky or even quieter than usual. If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take their temperature with a digital thermometer to confirm a fever.

There are also many common causes for fevers in children including, overdressing, a child who just received their immunizations, teething children, and children who have the flu.


If your child is experiencing a fever that is making them uncomfortable, it should be treated. Offering plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is key. This is because, just like in adults, fevers make children lose fluids faster than usual. If your child does not like plain water, fluids such as soup, ice pops, and flavored gelatin can also be given to them to avoid dehydration.

If your child is still playing and drinking fluids normally and doesn’t have pain, no treatment is needed. However if your child is uncomfortable or not wanting to drink fluids as a result of the fever, appropriate dosages of over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol or store brand) or Ibuprofen can be given depending on the age of your child. It’s important to note that Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age. And no medication should be given for fever to infants younger than 3 months of age.

Determining when to call the doctor when your child has a fever depends on the temperature level, your child’s age, the illness, and whether or not they have other pre-existing health conditions. However, there are times when a child comes down with a fever that should almost always warrant a trip to the doctor, including:

  • Infants Younger than 3 Months. If you have an infant younger than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above seek urgent care or emergency department right away.
  • Kids with current or prior health conditions. If your child has a fever and also an ongoing health condition, don’t wait to get treatment.

If you’re ever in doubt of what treatment is appropriate for your child’s fever symptoms, please reach out to your doctor for guidance and recommendations.