Fever/High Temperature in Children

A fever occurs when your child's body temperature is higher than normal. Normal body temperature varies a little, but a temperature above 38°C is considered a fever. 

Why does it happen?

Fever in young children usually means that they have an underlying infection. This understandably worries parents and carers.

  • Most fevers in young children over 6 months of age are not serious.
  • Fever in children aged 3-6 months has a higher chance of being serious. You should seek medical advice if the temperature is 39°C or more.
  • Fever in a baby aged less than 3 months is unusual and worrying. You should seek medical advice if the temperature is 38°C or more.

When young children have a fever, if can be difficult for parents to work out why. In most cases, the fever is due to a non-serious viral infection. Many viral infections that affect young children cause a fever of up to 48 hours in duration before other symptoms develop. A small number of common viruses cause fevers that last longer than this.

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Author:
Dr Mary Lowth
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
4343 (v42)
Last Checked:
22 May 2017
Next Review:
29 June 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.