High temperature is very common in young children. The temperature usually returns to normal within 3 or 4 days.

What is a fever?

Checking a high temperature

Your child might:

  • feel hotter than usual to the touch on their forehead, back or tummy
  • feel sweaty or clammy
  • have red cheeks

Use a digital thermometer (which you can buy from pharmacies and supermarkets) to take your child’s temperature.

What to do if your child has a high temperature

You can usually look after your child or baby at home. The temperature should go down over 3 or 4 days.

Get an urgent GP appointment if your child:

  • is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever
  • is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever
  • has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature
  • has a high temperature that’s lasted for more than 5 days
  • doesn’t want to eat, or isn’t their usual self and you’re worried
  • has a high temperature that doesn’t come down with paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • is showing signs of dehydration – such as nappies that aren’t very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they’re crying

Call NHS 111 at evenings and weekends

Knowing the signs of more serious illness

It’s quite rare for fever to be a sign of anything serious (like meningitis, a urinary tract infection and sepsis).