Taking care of a baby can honestly be tough. You're just trying to guess what your little one wants or needs for the first couple of years. One wrong decision can leave your baby very unhappy. While you can't read your baby's mind, it's still essential to determine what makes your baby comfortable. While the warmer season is meant to soak up the sun, you also must determine if your baby is comfy. But, even in the winter months, parents have made accidents by getting their little ones a little too warm.
Overheating doesn't only make the baby uncomfortable, but it can increase the risk of SIDS or possible other concerns for your little one. So, how can you prevent this? What can you do to ensure no mistakes happen? This is your guide to learning the signs of an overheating baby.
Related: How to Bathe Your Newborn Baby
You might be wondering why your baby smiles in their sleep, but you just can’t help to think how precious it is. Just like older kids and adults, babies are happy when they’re comfortable in their sleep. So you’re going to want to be aware of their temperature and the temperature of their nursey. Babies also don’t enjoy being too hot or too cold. The environment and the temperature in the environment need to be just right for them.
Understanding Normal Infant Temperature
A baby’s normal temperature can range anywhere from 97 to 100.3 Fahrenheit. Anything higher than this, even 100.4, is considered a fever for an infant. If your baby is three to six months old and has a temperature that is higher than 102 Fahrenheit and is showing signs that they are sick, then you must contact your health care provider immediately.
So, what if your little one is between six to twenty-four months old? Fevers for older infants are slightly more flexible. However, if the baby has a temperature higher than 102 F that lasts longer than 24 hours (with or without clear symptoms of an illness), you need to contact your health care provider.
What are the clear signs of a sick baby? There are some of the signs that you may want to look out for if your baby has a high temperature:
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Discharge from eyes or nose
- Heavy crying
- Cold or cold-like symptoms
Never hesitate to contact your health care provider for assistance if your baby's symptoms worsen. Even during after-hours, you can get assistance, such as in the Emergency room at your local hospital or a 24-hour nurse line at doctors' offices or your health insurance provider.
Related: Why Do Babies Cry in Their Sleep?
Understanding Signs of Infant Overheating
While the typical baby can have a standard temperature of around 97 to 100.3 degrees, some other reasons a baby could vary in temperature could include:
- How the temperature was taken
- The time of the day
- The temperature in the room
- What they’re wearing
But even with these general guidelines in mind, what are some of the signs that your baby could potentially be overheating? To help figure out whether your infant is overheating or not, here are some signs that you’re going to want to pay attention to:
- If they feel hot
- If your infant looks red or sweaty
- Seems too tired
- Appears weak
- High heart rate
- Acting fussy
- Damp hair and clammy skin
While these are some of the more apparent signs of an overheating baby, it's recommended to take their temperature and double-check.
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Double Check if Your Baby is Overheating
While technology has advanced as far as taking someone's temperature from a distance, it doesn't necessarily work that way for a baby. If you want the best results, then children under the age of three should have their temperature taken by placing the thermometer in the baby’s anus. This is something that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends for the most accurate reading of the baby's internal temperature. While this may be preferred to check a baby's temperature, other methods are less invasive, such as temporal artery thermometry.
Overheating vs. Fever in Newborns
In general, the signs of overheating and the signs of a fever in newborns are fairly similar. One of the key differences would be your baby's bowel movements, how active or responsive they're being, and whether or not they're showing general signs of a cold. Usually (but not always), newborn fevers will have colds, such as sneezing, coughing, and discharge.
This isn't the case if your baby is overheating; you don't need to expect any discharge. While high fevers can make a baby sweaty, it's usually a stronger indicator of overheating than a fever. Just like older kids and adults, there will be tell-tale signs displaying which of the two the baby might be experiencing even without direct communication.
Cooling Down Your Overheated Baby
While any parent wants to know the clear signs of an overheating baby, it’s also important to know what to do to completely prevent the baby from overheating. It’s going to first start the temperature in the room. Whether it’s the nursery, living room, or any other room in your home, you’re going to want it to stay at a good temperature anywhere from 68 F to 72 F. This temperature range is appropriate for the winter and summer months. You’re also going to want to completely avoid having the space get anywhere warmer than 75 F. Make sure that the thermostat in your home has an accurate reading.
While this is the biggest baby overheating prevention tip, what about keeping the baby cooled down? What can you do? You'll first want to begin by moving them to a room where it's a lot cooler. Next, remove any excess layers and put some looser-fitting clothing on them (or even nothing at all). Next, use a cool washcloth on their skin or give them a lukewarm bath (not cold). Afterward, feed them to ensure they're fully hydrated, but try not to overfeed them.
Related: Babies & Heat Rash: What You Should Know
In Summary: Key Factors to Remember
Being a parent to an infant is no easy job, but it's so rewarding. To wrap things up, here's everything that you need to keep in mind when preventing your little one from getting overheated:
- Figure out whether they have a fever or overheating
- Regularly check their temperature
- Ensure they’re in a room with a comfortable temperature
- Regularly feed them to ensure they’re not getting hydrated
- Seek medical attention if their temperature is above 100.4 F
By following these steps, you’re ensuring that you’ll have a healthy and happy baby!
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