When Is a Fever Too High for a Toddler?
Every parent worries about their toddler having a high fever. And historically, much advice was given out from healthcare professionals about the point at which parents need to worry when their toddler’s fever reaches a certain level.
Think a high fever means severe illness? Think again.
A large-scale medical study examining over 15,000 visits to an emergency room for children under 5 years of age found absolutely no connection between the height of fever and the severity of the illness.
In fact, your child’s body has built-in set points for temperature with a built-in safety mechanism. This is such that there really isn’t such a thing as a fever from illness that will get so high that something bad will happen.
It is worth noting, however, that this is different from true hyperthermia which is what happens tragically each summer as infants and children are accidentally left in hot cars. The body has no mechanism to fight off these kinds of temperatures.
How high is a dangerous fever for a child?
A normal body temperature range for a child can range anywhere from about 96 degrees F to 100.9 degrees F depending on how the temperature is taken. The definition for a fever in a child is generally considered to be greater than or equal to 101F.
Lowering your toddler's fever without medication
Tepid water sponge bathing
Dress your toddler in light clothing
Use light blankets
Treating a fever with medication
Acetaminophen Dosing by Weight*
(*Do not give to infants under 2 months of age without checking with your child's health care provider first)
|Weight in lbs.||Desired Dose||160 mg/5 ml||160 mg Jr. Strength Chewable Tabs & Meltaways||325g Regular Strength Adult Tabs||500 mg Extra Strength Adult Tabs|
|6 to 11||40 mg||1.25 ml = 1/4 teaspoon||—||—||—|
|12 to 17||80 mg||2.5 ml = 1/2 teaspoon||—||—||—|
|18 to 23||120 mg||3.75 ml = 3/4 teaspoon||—||—||—|
|24 to 35||160 mg||5 ml = 1 teaspoon||1 Jr. Strength Tab or Meltaway||—||—|
|36 to 47||240 mg||7.5 ml = 1 1/2 teaspoon||1 1/2 Jr. Strength Tabs or Meltaways||—||—|
|48 to 59||320 mg||10 ml = 2 teaspoons||2 Jr. Strength Tabs or Meltaways||—||—|
|60 to 71||400 mg||12.5 ml = 2 1/2 teaspoons||2 1/2 Jr. Strength Tabs or Meltaways||1 tab||—|
|72 to 95||490 mg||15 ml = 3 teaspoons||3 Jr. Strength Tabs or Meltaways||1 1/2 tabs||—|
|96+||650 mg||20 ml = 4 teaspoons||4 Jr. Strength Tabs or Meltaways||2 tabs||1 tab|
Ibuprofen Dosing by Weight (6 months and older*)
(*Children under 6 months cannot have ibuprofen)
|Desired Dose||50 mg/1.25 ml||100 mg/5 ml||100 mg Junior Strength Motrin Chewables||200 mg Regular Strength Adult Tabs|
|50 mg||1.25 ml||2.5 ml = 1/2 teaspoon||—||—|
|80 mg||1.875 ml||4 ml = 3/4 teaspoon||—||—|
|100 mg||2.5 ml||5 ml = 1 teaspoon||1 chewable tab,20 ml = 4 teaspoons||—|
|160 mg||4 ml||8 ml = 1 1/2 teaspoon||1 1/2 chewable tab||—|
|200 mg||—||10 ml = 2 teaspoons||2 chewable tabs||1 tab|
|250 mg||—||12.5 ml = 2 1/2 teaspoons||2 1/2 chewable tabs||1 tab|
|300 mg||—||15 ml = 3 teaspoons||3 chewable tabs||1 tab|
|400 mg||—||20 ml = 4 teaspoons||4 chewable tabs||2 tabs|
When to come to Pacific Crest
While fever isn’t dangerous, generally you should bring your child to Pacific Crest if they:
- have fever past 48-72 hours,
- show signs of dehydration (drinking less, less urine output),
- are struggling with low energy.
If your child is under two months of age and has a fever greater than or equal to 100.4 rectally, they should proceed directly to the emergency department and bypass Pacific Crest Children’s.
Pacific Crest is a kid's urgent care clinic in Portland, Oregon. If you're worried about your little one, come to us for expert advice, care and the confidence that comes with talking to a specialist. We won't charge the earth, we're here after-hours and we work with most insurers. But even if we don't support your provider, you'll find our out of network costs affordable, and in nearly all cases, less than the emergency room.
Find us at: 6924 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97213