Baby Care: Temperature in Babies

Tips to prevent overheating in an infant, baby's reactions to change in temperature and detecting and dealing with fever and fits in newborns.

Babies need to be comfortable at all times; their body temperature should neither be too hot nor too cold. No matter how healthy your baby keeps, fever among babies is a normal occurrence and though this is no cause to worry regarding your baby’s safety, taking certain precautions can certainly help. If the body temperature constantly keeps high, you need to consult the doctor at the earliest and it may be indicative of a deeper problem. The article brings you information on how to deal with your baby’s fever. Read on to help yourself with your baby’s fever.

Ideal Sleeping Temperature For Babies
To sleep well, the baby doesn't need a specially heated room. Studies have found that a cool room allows both adults and babies to sleep well. The ideal temperature is around 18 degrees centigrade (65 degrees Fahrenheit). Babies, like adults, will need less clothing in summer. So, make sure you clothe your baby lightly, especially while he is sleeping to ensure there is no overheating. If it is cold outside, you can wrap your baby with an extra blanket. However once during the night, make sure you remove the extra layers of clothing to ensure that he/she doesn't get too hot.

Reading Baby’s Temperature
People often tell you that you can find out whether your baby is hot or cold by feeling their palms and the sole of their feet. But these are not indicators of baby's body temperature. To find out the 'core temperature', place your hand flat against the skin of the baby’s back or chest. If he/she feels pleasantly warm and not too hot or cold, it means his/her body temperature is normal. If the baby is very hot, he/she will feel sweaty, may have a heat rash around the neck and the face may be flushed. Reducing the number of clothes that the baby is wearing or the layers covering him/her will make him/her feel better. If the baby is feeling very cold, he/she will cry and even shiver. Sometimes, when the babies feel extremely cold, they will become motionless, as they want to save energy to keep themselves warm. Adding clothing or covering will make them warm. You could hold them close to your body so that they get warm as a result of your body heat. New parents often worry that they will not be able to tell when their baby is unwell. Once you get accustomed to the routine of your baby, you will be able to notice any change in behavior or routine. Sometimes, you may not realize that your baby is ill. Here are a few signs that will help you detect that the baby is ill:

  • Lack of energy.
  • Doesn't pass urine for over eight hours.
  • Stools are yellow-green in color.
  • Not feeding normally.
  • Cries and is irritated when carried.
  • Is vomiting.
  • Feels hot and sweaty or hot and dry.

Using an ear thermometer is the most accurate way of finding out the baby's temperature. You can find out the 'core temperature' by placing your hand flat against the skin of his chest or back. If he/she feels hot, it indicates that the baby has a fever.

Dealing with Infant Fever
Put the baby in a cool room and dress him/her lightly. Sponging the baby with lukewarm water will reduce his/her temperature. Remove all his clothes except his nappy, dip the sponge in lukewarm water and gently rub all over his body. Allow this water to evaporate from the skin, thus lowering the temperature. When the baby has a very high temperature, he/she may experience febrile convulsions or fits. This happens when the baby's temperature rises suddenly. Some children may face this before they are one year old. Consult the doctor if the body temperature doesn’t decrease after sponging the baby.

Additional Tips:

  1. Their clothing should suit the weather and the heating within the house should suit the children and adults alike.
  2. If the house is centrally heated, your baby will be comfortable in just a vest and a stretch suit when he/she is indoors.
  3. When the baby leaves the house, he/she may need more clothing depending on what the temperature outside is.
  4. At bedtime, cover them with as many blankets as you would use if you were sleeping in that room. Each folded blanket is equivalent to two blankets. You don't have to keep the central heating on through the night.

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