Normal body temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Rectal temperatures under 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) and oral readings of 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celsius) are typically considered normal temperatures. A rectal temperature reading is most accurate for young babies. Fevers typically indicate the presence of an infection in the body.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if an infant younger than four months of age has a rectal temperature of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) the child’s doctor should be called. If a child younger than 2 years of age has a fever for more than 24 hours or if a child older than 2 years of age has a fever for more than 72 hours or if a fever rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) repeatedly, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling the child’s doctor. If parents or caregivers have any concerns about the child’s temperature reading, the child’s doctor should be called.
When children have a fever, they sometimes behave normally and do not seem to be affected by their elevated temperature. Other times it may be clear that child is experiencing pain or discomfort. If a child has other symptoms, such as crying regularly, awakening with difficulty, crying when touched or moved, has a stiff neck and purple spots, the child should be seen by his doctor.
In addition to administering the appropriate fever and pain reducers with the parent’s permission, a lukewarm bath can help to reduce a fever.
Nannies should be aware that some children experience febrile seizures as a response to the rise in temperature of their body. While typically harmless to the child, they can be very scary for a nanny to watch.