How to Safely Bring Down a Toddler's Temperature

When a toddler has a fever, it's not necessarily an indication of something serious, reports Dr. William Sears on the "Parenting" website. Many fevers result from colds or viral infections. As long as your child doesn't show signs of increasing illness --- such as unresponsiveness, trouble breathing, crying when touched or moved, seizures or pain when urinating --- you can administer treatment to safely bring down a toddler's temperature without seeing a physician.

Things You'll Need

  • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
  • Light clothing
  • Water or juice


    • 1

      Give your child the correct dosage of Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen for his age and body weight. Check the dosage chart on the bottle.

    • 2

      Dress her in lightweight, non-constricting cotton clothing. Allow the heat to leave her body. Do not cover her in blankets. A light blanket is permissible if she wants it.

    • 3

      Offer water or juice to keep him hydrated. Limit activity as much as possible to keep his temperature from rising.

    • 4

      Sponge your child with lukewarm water --- 85 to 90 degrees --- for 20 to 30 minutes if her fever exceeds 104 degrees and she doesn't respond to Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. Call her pediatrician to advise him of the fever.

    • 5

      Place a cool cloth on the back of his neck. That area acts as a natural thermostat for the body and the cool cloth should lower the temperature quickly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not give children with fever aspirin because of the risk of Reyes Syndrome --- a rare, but potentially fatal illness that affects the liver and brain.
  • Fever may be the only symptom for the first 24 hours of an illness.
  • Call your doctor if the fever lasts more than 24 hours with no other symptoms present.
  • Call your doctor if your toddler has fever of 104 degrees or higher even with fever medication.
  • Call your doctor if your toddler experiences fever for more than two days.
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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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