First Response: How to control a small child or baby’s runaway temperature.

Recently our son had a long bout of soaring temperatures ranging from 39 – 41C (102-106 Fahrenheit). Normally the body runs at around 37C/98.6F, dangerously high is considered anything over 40C/104F – this is where febrile convulsions happen, organs fail, and worse.

So if your baby’s temperature is 39C/102F or above you should already be on the phone to the emergency services in your country. In the UK that’s 999 (or 112 from a mobile).

After four scary visits to A&E we found it was a urine infection with possible renal reflux (it was eventually diagnosed dual RR, I’ll write more on this) and a course of antibiotics was prescribed which we will now have to keep him on for 3-5 years.

We were taught how to manage his temperature for ourselves when it reaches these extremes. Here’s how:

  1. Take temperature, use a timpanic (in-ear) gauge for preference.

    In-Ear Thermometer

  2. Remove outer clothing, leave on vest and underwear. This allows air to circulate across the body and cool it down while keeping the core organs stable so that shivering doesn’t start and raise the body temperature further. NOTE: I found cradling my boy on my lap with my arms either side a good way of keeping the extremities warm if they cooled too much. Also very calming for the little man.
  3. Dose with baby paracetemol. 2.5ml under six months/5ml after that.
  4. Wait for these actions to start lowering the temperature. If no response after 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours or the temperature continues to rise dose with ibuprofen (2.5ml up to 1 year, 5ml for 1-3 years).

From here on in your doctor needs to give you the correct dosing regimen. So if you’re reading this and have an overheating child you need to call emergency services, your doctor, or NHS Direct (0845 4647) NOW. This post may help you in a jam but it is no excuse for not calling. I’m not medically trained and the doctors will be able to tell you how to maintain appropriate treatment for your child and your child’s specific illness.

Still reading? Pick up the phone already.


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