Helping parents make confident choices

Your quick guide to fevers

Too hot or not? Find out what your baby’s thermometer reading means

All small children get high temperatures from time to time and usually they're back to normal quickly. But how hot is too hot? Here’s our at a glance guide to what your child’s temperature means:


36.4°C (97.4°F) : Normal.

37°C (98.4°F) : Normal.Temperatures can vary quite a lot within the ‘normal’ range.

37.5°C (99.5°F) : High temperature. Keep a watchful eye.

38°C (100.4°F) : Fever. Seek medical advice if your child is under 3 months old. Also offer fluids, and treat with an age-appropriate paracetamol or ibuprofen. Undress to nappy or vest and pants. Keep room well-aired at 18°C/65°F.

39°C (102°F): High fever. Seek medical advice and treat as above.

40°C (104°F): Very high fever. Seek medical advice immediately.


If your baby is older than 3 months, her behaviour is often a better indicator of how ill she is than the reading on your thermometer. If she also seems very sleepy, is breathing strangely, has a fit, has a rash, is being sick or won't drink, always seek medical advice.


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