1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

When To Call Your Pediatrician for a Fever

Expert Q&A

By

Updated April 10, 2014

Q. My question is when is a fever in a toddler a concern? My son is 2 years old and used to have a normal temp around 98.7 when not ill. In the last 4 months his temp is always in the 99.5-100.3 range with the exception of a few days here and there where it is 98.7 or so. I first noticed this because he feels hot to the touch when his temp is elevated and I knew that was not normal for him. He also has had occasional days with a fever of 102 or higher when not obviously ill. Is this something to be concerned about? Thank you. Alison, Novato, CA

A. In general, you should call your Pediatrician or seek medical attention for fever when:

  • an infant under two to three months old has a temp at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38.1 degrees Celsius)
  • an infant that is three to six months old has a temp at or above 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius)
  • an infant six to twelve months old has a temp at or above 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius)
  • a child over twelve months old has a temp at or above 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) and the fever does not improve with home remedies and a fever reducer
Remember that how high a fever is doesn't necessarily tell you how sick your child is. Whatever your child's temperature, even if your child doesn't have a fever, if your child is very irritable and doesn't have some playful moments or is not eating and sleeping well, you should still call your Pediatrician.

It is important to keep in mind that children normally have higher temperatures than adults, so a rectal temperature under 100.4 is often considered to be normal in a child under age 3 years. And it is hard to believe that he would have regular fevers for 4 months without any other symptoms.

If you really think he is having regular fevers, especially if it is sometimes 102 or higher, you likely should see your Pediatrician for an evaluation. You might also consider using a different method to check his temperature. Especially if you are checking his temperature using an axillary (under the arm) thermometer, you might confirm it with a rectal temperature the next time you think he has a fever.

Related Articles About Fever

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Pediatrics
  4. Medical Advice
  5. Common Symptoms
  6. Fever
  7. When To Call Your Pediatrician for a Fever

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.