A normal temperature for a child is generally thought to be 97-100. If your toddler’s temperature begins to rise, it can be a scary thing, but it’s important to remember that most fevers are a sign that your child’s body is working correctly to fight off an infection.
Fevers in toddlers are usually harmless and should not be of much concern unless they are constant and climbing. Parents often mistake a slightly elevated temperature for a more serious issue.
Here are 5 reasons your toddler may have a fever:
Viral Infection: The most common cause of a fever is a viral or bacterial infection such as the common cold or an ear infection.
Teething: Toddlers can experience a low grade fever while they are teething. Low grade is considered below 101. If your child is experiencing a fever higher than this, then it is probably due to another cause.
Time of Day: Body temperature tends to rise in the late afternoon and fall by the next morning. This explains why pediatricians get most calls about fever in the second half of the day. Take the time into consideration before you contact a doctor. If it is just slightly above normal, it is probably not a cause for concern.
High Activity Level: Children usually have an elevated temperature after they’ve been running around. If your child feels warm to the touch but is still playing and eating normally, there is probably no need to call a doctor.
Immunizations: Toddlers may sometimes exhibit signs of a low grade fever after being vaccinated.
Of course, it is possible that your child’s fever is an underlying issue for something more serious. If your toddler has a fever, monitor him or her for uncharacteristic behavior (loss of appetite, low activity level, etc.) and use the following criteria for when to seek medical help.
When to Call the Doctor:
• If your toddler has a temperature of 103 or above that persists for over 24 hours
• If you fear your toddler is in danger of becoming dehydrated due to vomiting or diahhrea
• If your toddler’s breathing is rapid, slow or difficult
• If your toddler exhibts uncharacteristic behavior such as loss of appetite or low activity level
• If you have already taken your toddler to the doctor and the condition worsens or new symptoms arise
• If your toddler develops a red or purple rash
• If your toddler has a headache that won’t go away
• If your toddler has a fever in addition to a chronic illness for which he/she is already taking medication