Treating a high temperature in children
How do I treat a fever? (9 to 30 months)
Media last reviewed: 28/02/2013
Next review due: 28/02/2015
Fever in children
A fever is a temperature of over 37.5C (99.5F). Fevers are quite common in young
children and are usually mild.
If your child’s face feels hot to the touch and they look red or flushed then they
may have a fever. You can also check their temperature with a thermometer. Safe,
cheap digital thermometers are available from your pharmacist.
Measured under the arm, normal temperature is about 36.4C (97.5F). Under the
tongue, normal temperature is slightly higher at about 37C (98.6F). This may vary
slightly depending on the time of day and what your child has been doing.
contact your GP out-of-hours service. If you’re still concerned, or if your GP or
out-of-hours service can’t come quickly enough, take your child straight to your
Always contact your GP, health visitor, practice nurse or nurse practitioner if:
your child has other signs of illness as well as a raised temperature
your baby’s temperature is 38C (100.4F) or higher (if they’re under three
your baby’s temperature is 39C (102.2F) or higher (if they’re three to six months)
If the doctor doesn’t find a reason for the temperature they may ask you to collect
a urine sample in a sterile container so they can test for infection.
How to treat a young child’s fever
It’s important to keep your child hydrated. Even if your child isn’t thirsty try to get
them to drink little and often to keep their fluid levels up. Don’t give them food
unless they want it.
dosage instructions carefully). Do not give your child aspirin.
The following suggestions may help your child feel more comfortable:
Give your child plenty to drink.
Undress them to their nappy or vest and pants.
Cover them with a sheet if necessary.
Keep the room well aired and at a comfortable temperature of about 18C (65F) by
adjusting the heating or opening a window.
If your child is distressed and uncomfortable, try giving them paracetamol or
ibuprofen. You can’t give them both at the same time, but if one doesn’t work you
may want to try the other later. Always check the instructions on the bottle or
packet to find out the correct dose and frequency for your child’s age.