What is the normal temperature of a baby
The fever is one of the main concerns from parents nowadays and the majority consider it as a dangerous element. Most of them go to the paediatrician when their children have higher temperature than what they consider normal and not always is necessary. However it is not possible to generalize about what is the normal temperature of a baby, it depends on each child, among other factors.
The fever is symptom that there is an infection or inflammation in the body and it works as a defense mechanism, complicating the proliferation of the germs that cause it. Fever can have negative consequences in the brain when it arrives to 42ºC or more. In many circumstances it is related with the risk of having febrile seizure, that depends more from the speed of the changes in the temperature than the achieved temperature. Knowing frequency and features from the baby’s fever is possible to be close to the viral or bacterial nature of the infection and it can allow us if there is a positive answer to antibiotic treatment.
Despite the concern involved, it is not possible to generalize about what is the normal temperature of a baby, it depends on, as Dr. Sergio Negre says, Pediatrician in the Quiron Hospital of Valencia, the baby, the age and the moment of the day.
The age of the baby and its influence on temperature
According to the age of the baby, temperature’s curve varies, suffering higher changes when the age of the baby is older. Temperature also changes during sleep-wake cycles, being higher during the sleeping hours.
How can we measure the fever?
When we want to obtain baby’s temperature we have to take into account the place we measure it. The Dr. Negre mentions that the mouth and the anus are the best places to measure temperature, obtaining higher approximations of real temperature.
Currently there are some studies about the development of new technologies that will allow us quantify reliable temperatures in other areas like the skin, and in the future it is possible that this technologies reaches same reliability levels than oral and rectal measurements.
Taking into account normal temperature, we can say that in underarm’s level is considered low-grade fever between 37 and 37.5ºC, so it is fever after this number. In oral or rectal level this it changes because temperature is higher, in this case fever is when it is more than 38ºC.
When do we have to treat the fever?
When we want to treat or remove fever, we have to take into account other elements like baby’s behaviour. If the baby has fever but he/she is happy and active, it means that is fighting efficiently against germ that has caused the infection. The Spanish Society of Pediatric Emergency give us the following advices about when we have to go to the doctor if baby has fever:
In the case it would be necessary to treat the fever, it is convenient, firstly, to go to the doctor, but we can help the baby with some medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Thanks to new technologies there are some products that allow to measure some vital signs like temperature, so parents can be relax and enjoy with their babies.