Fever in Children


The information contained in this page has been obtained from the Royal Children’s Hospital Guidelines 2019.

Fever (a high temperature) is common in children. Fever is a normal response to many illnesses, the most common being an infection in the body. Fever itself is usually not harmful – in fact, it helps the body's immune system fight off infection.

While fevers can be concerning for parents, doctors will usually be more concerned about what is causing the fever, and not what the child’s temperature is. It is more important for you to monitor any symptoms of the underlying illness, rather than the fever itself.

When to see a doctor

If your baby is under three months and has a fever above 38°C, or if your child is immunocompromised (has a weakened immune system) due to a medical condition or medical treatment and has a fever above 38°C, then you should see a GP, even if they have no other symptoms.

For all other children, take them to see a GP if their temperature is above 38°C and they have any of the following symptoms:

  • a stiff neck or light is hurting their eyes

  • vomiting and refusing to drink much

  • a rash

  • more sleepy than usual

  • problems with breathing

  • pain that doesn’t get better with pain relief medication.

Also take your child to a GP if they:

  • have a fever above 40°C, but show no other symptoms

  • have had any fever for more than two days

  • seem be getting more unwell

  • have had a febrile convulsion.

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Dr Terry NguyenComment