Family Safety Tip: When Kids get a Fever at Midnight
It never fails. You have an early meeting in the morning, and at 2am the night before your child spikes a fever of 101. You’re delirious…they are screaming…what do you do? Experts say it’s a good idea to develop a Midnight Plan for when kids get sick so when it happens (because it will) you know what to do even though you may not be thinking clearly because of exhaustion.
Midnight Survival Plan
Why fevers are worse at night: Body temperature rises naturally in the evening, so a fever that was slight during the day can easily spike during sleep.
What to do: First, take your child’s temperature (do it rectally if she’s less than 6 months old — and, ideally, for as long as she’ll allow this method). Any fever above 100.4 F in an infant under 3 months warrants an immediate call to the doctor. Same goes for an elevated temp in any child that’s accompanied by lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, stiff neck or an unusual rash.
Otherwise, try a dose of acetaminophen, wait a half hour and check the temperature again, says Leeds. “If it hasn’t begun to come down and she’s older than a year, give your child some ibuprofen, too,” she adds. “You can use these medications together, separated by half an hour. Just remember that acetaminophen can be given every four hours, and ibuprofen can be given every six to eight hours.” (Write down the time of each dose to help you keep track.) In the meantime — and if you’re not too delirious — you can give your child a room-temperature bath to help cool her down.
And definitely help her stay hydrated by offering some water (or formula or breast milk if she’s a baby) before she goes back to sleep. Call the doctor in the morning to check in; she may want you to bring your child in.