How to dress baby with fever at night?

Dr. Lyndsey Garbi
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    When your baby has a fever, you want to do everything you can to make them comfortable. One question you may have is what is the best way to dress them? Keep reading to learn more about how to dress a baby with a fever at night!

    Taking your baby or infants body temperature:

    First and foremost, when your baby has a fever you want to make sure she is not too hot or too cold. The best way to gauge this is by taking their temperature which is more accurate than touching their skin with your hand. If your infant's temperature is over 100.4°F, it's safe to assume that your baby has a fever and may need to be dressed differently than usual.

    Best practices for measuring your child's fever:

    1. Use a digital thermometer
    2. Take the temperature in rectally, orally, or in the armpit and keep track of the readings.
    3. It is important to monitor your baby’s temperature throughout the night as fevers can fluctuate depending on what activities or medications they are taking during the day or night.
    4. Make sure you are checking the temperature regularly and adjust their clothing accordingly.

    Rectal temperature vs oral temperature:

    It’s important to know the difference between rectal and oral temperature readings. Rectal temperatures are more accurate than oral. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that for best results in babies and toddlers up to three years old, you should take their temperature rectally. This means placing a thermometer in the baby's anus. Not only is this method accurate, but it also provides a quick reading of the baby's internal temperature.

    What about forehead thermometers?

    Studies have found that forehead thermometers tend to be less accurate especially in certain populations. While it can be uncomfortable we follow the the AAP's advice on recommending rectal readings for children under 3.

    I know my baby has a mild or high fever, how should I dress my baby?

    A good rule of thumb is to dress them in light clothing such as a onesie or sleep sack. You may also want to put socks on a baby with a fever because this can help prevent chills. However, be sure not to overheat them by using too many blankets or turning up the thermostat too high, as this can make them more uncomfortable.

    What about a light blanket?

    If your baby has a mild fever, you may want to use a light blanket or swaddle wrap to keep them warm. Be sure the fabric is lightweight (such as cotton) and that it doesn't cover their head or face. This can help keep your baby feeling comfortable while preventing chills. Although it may seem like bundling a child up in blankets will make them feel better, it can actually have the opposite effect by elevating their fever.

    Should I put wet socks on my baby?

    Some parents opt to use wet socks or a damp cloth, as they believe it helps to bring the fever down. If you choose to use a damp cloth make sure that it’s not too cold. If it’s cold, it may cause your baby to shiver, lowering their temperature.  It’s important to note that a wet towel, or socks won’t reduce the fever, but may help your child feel more comfortable.

    Lightweight clothing for kids to sleep in:

    • A onesie or sleep sack made our of light fabric such as cotton. Babies sleep well and safely when they’re neither too hot nor too cold.
    • Avoid beanies, or heavy swaddles.

    What else can I do to keep my baby's fever down at night?

    • You may also want to give your baby a lukewarm bath or sponge bath to help reduce their fever. Make sure the water is not too cold or too hot and keep it at a comfortable temperature. Avoid cold water or putting rubbing alcohol on their skin.
    • Make sure your baby is well hydrated and has plenty of fluids throughout the day to help keep their fever down

    Using fever medicine / fever reducers:

    Additionally, you can try giving them fever medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) which are safe for infants from 6 months of age. We recommend only giving they are feeling really yucky. Be sure to follow dosing instructions carefully and consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions. Remember, a fever is the body’s way of fighting off infection, so if your infant has a low temperature it may be best to avoid medications.

    Keeping your baby comfortable at night can be challenging, but with a little bit of extra care and attention you can make sure they are as comfortable and safe as possible so both you and your baby can get a good night’s sleep.  

    When to call the doctor:

    It is important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, such as excessive thirst or dry lips and skin, which can be a sign that your baby is not getting enough fluids. Additionally, you should keep an eye out for signs of difficulty breathing or other serious symptoms, as these may be indicative of a more severe underlying problem that requires further medical attention.  If your child has a high fever that's more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 Celsius) or if their fever persists for more than 24 hours, be sure to contact your pediatrician and explain their symptoms.

    By following these simple steps and keeping an eye out for possible complications, you can help keep your baby's fever down and make sure they get the rest they need.

    Knowing how to dress a baby when she has a fever doesn't have to be tricky. It's as simple as:

    • Avoid bundling them in heavy clothing or blankets, even if they have the chills.
    • Make sure you know what your child's fever is. We recommend using a rectal thermometer for babies!
    • Keep your child hydrated or
    • Administer medication only if they are old enough, and are particularly fussy!
    • Call a doctor immediately if your baby is younger than 3 months old and has a fever. Is 3 to 12 months old and has a fever of 102.2°F (39°C) or higher. Is under age 2 and has a fever that lasts longer than 48 hours. Remember these are only guidelines if your baby has worsening fever symptoms, it's always best to be on the safe side and not delay medical attention.

    Concerns about your child's temperature, baby wear, baby fever or other symptoms?

    You can contact a Blueberry pediatrician 24/7, day or night, no question is too big or small. The best part? An entire year of Blueberry membership costs less than the typical copay of a single urgent care visit! It's like a doctor's office in your house!

    Blueberry doctors will ask about you child's fever symptoms, and will help assess whether the emergency room is needed. The Blueberry pediatric team can provide guidance and treatment dependent on your child's needs.