Memorial Hermann - A New Beginning

Baby’s Health

FEVER Your baby’s normal rectal temperature can range from 97.5° to 100.3° F. When your baby runs a fever, it can be stressful for you. Fever is a positive sign that the body is fighting infection. Fever also stimulates good things—like your baby’s white blood cells—whose job it is to attack and destroy invading bacteria. Types of thermometers Always use a digital thermometer to take your baby’s temperature. Do not use mercury thermometers, fever strips, or pacifiers to take their temperature. A digital thermometer can be used in the rectum, under the tongue, or in the armpit. Label one thermometer for rectal use only. Other types of thermometers can safely be used on a baby—but they may not be as accurate. There are also digital thermometers that take temperatures in the ear canal and across the head. Which type of thermometer you use depends on your baby’s age.


Call your health care provider immediately if your baby has a fever of 100.4° F or higher and is less than 3 months old . If you can’t reach your provider, call 911 or take your baby to the emergency room.

IMMUNIZATIONS Immunizations—shots or vaccinations—are an easy way to protect your child against a variety of diseases. The CDC publishes a yearly list of recommended immunizations for children in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know: • Keep track of your child’s vaccination schedule • Keep a record of your child’s shots in a safe place—you’ll need the official copies to enroll them in child care and school • Check to see if there’s an electronic immunization registry available online Immunizations for family and caregivers Because newborns are still developing their immune systems, they are especially vulnerable to infection and disease. So before anyone comes into close contact with your baby, they must be up to date on all vaccines. This includes whooping cough vaccine (DTaP for children and Tdap for preteens, teens, and adults), and flu vaccine during flu season.


A rectal temperature gets the most accurate reading for a baby up to age 3 years. Wash your hands before and after use. First lubricate the digital thermometer with petroleum jelly or a water-soluble lubricant. Then insert only the tip of the thermometer 1 / 2 inch into the baby’s rectum. Hold your baby in the diaper-changing position (hand cupped over baby’s bottom) and hold thermometer in place until it beeps.


Questions about immunizations? Talk to your child’s health care provider or local or state health department. Call the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or visit

An armpit thermometer can be used for children over 3 months of age. But it’s not as accurate as a rectal reading.


Your Guide to Postpartum and Newborn Care

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