Pre School Nursery Children and Fevers

During a child’s first few years it can seem like they are sponges for germs, picking up a variety of common childhood illnesses, including coughs colds and fevers.

Although all of these are extremely common and in the majority of cases the children quickly make a full recovery, it can still be a stressful and upsetting time.

A fever can be caused by many things, from common childhood illnesses like chicken pox to vaccinations and is a natural and healthy response to infection.

Normal Temperature for Young Children

  • A normal temperature within a child is around 36.4C but this can vary slightly from child to child.
  • A fever is a high temperature of 38C or more
  • A fever is the body’s way of fighting or killing off infections like coughs and colds.

The most accurate way of checking your child’s temperature is to use a digital thermometer, although there may also be some other visuals present:

  • Feeling hotter to the touch, on their forehead, back or tummy
  • Feeling sweaty or clammy
  • Red cheeks

The child can usually be cared for at home and the temperature normally subsides within a few days. If you are worried about your child seek medical advice.

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Fever Do“s

  • Give them plenty of fluids
  • Offer foods, favourite foods or softer/colder foods if suffering from sore throat/tonsillitis
  • Check on your child regularly during the night
  • Keep them at home and offer quieter activities
  • Give them paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce the fever

Fever Dont“s

  • Do not undress your child or sponge them down to cool them
  • Do not wrap them up in layers
  • Do not give asprin to under 16s
  • Do not give ibuprofen and paracetamol, unless advised by a GP
  • Do not give paracetamol to a child under 2 months
  • Do not give ibuprofen to a child under 3 months or under 5kg
  • Do not give ibuprofen to a child with asthma
  • When To Call Emergency Services
  • Get an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if your child shows any of the following:
  • Is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38c or above
  • Is 3-6 months old and has a temperature of 39c or above
  • Has other signs of illness, such as a rash as well as a high temperature
  • Proves a high temperature that’s lasted for 5 days or more
  • Does not want to eat
  • Temperature does not come down with paracetamol or nurofen
  • Showing signs of dehydration, such as nappies are not wet, sunken eyes, no tears when crying.

How Common is a Fever In Children?

It’s quite rare for a fever to be a sign of anything more serious but it is important that you know the signs and what to look out for.

Call 999 or go straight to A&E if your child:

  • Has a stiff neck
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it
  • Is bothered by light
  • Has a fit ( febrile seizure ) for the first time ( they cannot stop shaking )
  • Has unusually cold hands and feet
  • Has pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin
  • Has a weak, high pitched cry that’s not like their normal cry
  • Is drowsy and hard to wake
  • Finds it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs
  • Has a soft spot on their head that curves outwards ( bulging fontanelle )

Further advice and guidance can be found at

REMEMBER, YOU know your child better than anyone else, therefore if you are concerned or worried seek medical advice.

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