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How to Manage a Temperature at Home

When babies and children are poorly they often have a high temperature (sometimes called a fever).

A normal temperature in babies and children is around 36.4°C but this can vary from child to child. A high temperature is 38°C or above.

The best thermometer to use to check your child's temperature is a digital one to get a fast and correct reading. Strip thermometers used on foreheads are not as accurate as digital ones and ear thermometers can be tricky to use.

To take your child's temperature using a digital thermometer; 

  • Place the thermometer under their armpit.
  • Leave it there for at least 15 seconds (the thermometer may beep when the temperature has been taken).

If you don't have a thermometer signs that they may have a temperature are;

  • They may feel hotter to touch than usual on their forehead, back or tummy.
  • They may be sweaty or clammy.
  • They may have red cheeks.

Below is an animation on how to take your child's temperature.

Things You Can Do To Help

Dress your baby or young child in their normal clothing or nightwear whilst they are feeling poorly, as this will be the most comfortable for them. Being either undressed or wrapped up in blankets can make babies and young children feel too cold or too hot, and they may not be able to tell you this.

Have a look at our animation to see what you can do to help to bring a high temperature down at home.

Some minor illness such as coughs, colds, or tummy upsets can spread from one person to another very easily but there are some simple things that you can do to reduce the risk of this happening.

*Click Here* for more information about how to stop germs from spreading.

Who Can Help?

In children, a fever is considered to be 38° C and above. If your baby is under 6 months old and has a high temperature, it is important to seek advice from a health professional. 

If your child’s temperature drops below 35 (normal is 37) this could indicate they are seriously unwell. Please contact your GP or 111 for advice.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturday.

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