Fevers can be one of the scariest things to deal with as a parent. First of all, it’s so hard to see our kiddos miserable! Then you have the worry of whether or not the fever is serious enough to warrant a visit to the pediatrician. Every kid will get a fever at one point or another. Most fevers aren’t serious or indicative of a bigger issue, either. But there are times when a fever is more than just a fever and needs to be addressed. Is your child’s fever bad enough for a doctor’s visit? Here’s the lowdown.

Some fevers are not to be taken lightly, especially in younger babies.

When your baby is younger than 2 or 3 months old, you should call the pediatrician anytime they spike a fever. Even if it’s low-grade! Babies that young still have underdeveloped immune systems, so even a low fever needs to be taken seriously. Fevers can be a sign of an infection, and any infection in a baby that age is cause for concern.

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Another time to give the doc a call: if your child is older than 3 months and has a fever that is accompanied by other symptoms. If the baby is spiking a fever and seems listless or weak, or is vomiting, definitely contact their pediatrician. Also, any fever that lasts for longer than three days should be brought to the doctor’s attention.

Anytime your child has a high fever, it’s time to be on red alert.

Repeated fevers of 104 or above, especially if they have other symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory problems, or a rash), should be taken very seriously. A sustained high fever can lead to very serious complications like febrile seizures. If the fever isn’t responding to medicine or other remedies, or goes down but spikes back up, a visit to the pediatrician may be in order.

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When it comes to low-grade fevers that respond well to meds or other remedies, it’s safe to take a watch-and-wait approach. Make sure you’re checking their temperature regularly to you know when it spikes. But plenty of kids get fevers for innocuous reasons like teething. Not every fever is a sign of a problem!

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