Baby care basics

Skin care

  • Baby’s skin is delicate and is susceptible to becoming dry and broken. It needs gentle care.
  • Use fragrance- free bathing gel or just water for a baby’s bath.
  • The skin of your baby may look dry and will peel off before one month old. This is perfectly normal and you don’t need to put body lotion on your baby.
  • When your baby is already one month old, you may apply a mild body lotion on your baby after bath to prevent loss of moisture in dry weather.
  • Avoid exposing baby under the sun directly when going out. Use an umbrella or put a bonnet on your baby to protect him from the sun. Do not apply sunscreen on your baby to avoid causing skin irritation or allergy.
Mother bear holding up an umbrella for baby bear to prevent direct exposure to the sun

Common skin problems among babies

Showing milia over the nose of a baby

Milia

Descriptions

Cause
  • Related to the premature development of the skin glands
Symptoms
  • Common among newborns
  • Appear as white or yellow dots of the size of a needle tip, flat on touching

Affected areas

  • On forehead, cheeks, chins and nose
  • Appears as white bumps on some babies’ gum (Epstein’s pearls)

Treatment and prevention

  • Usually disappear on their own 2-3 weeks after birth. No specific treatment is needed.
  • Do not squeeze or apply medications
Do not squeeze or apply medications
Showing neonatal acne over the forehead of a baby

Neonatal Acnes

Descriptions

Cause
  • Due to mother’s hormones crossing the placenta to the baby during pregnancy
Symptoms
  • Small raised reddish bumps
  • Commonly found a few days or weeks after birth

Affected areas

  • On foreheads and cheeks

Treatment and prevention

  • Shall disappear on their own within 3 months after birth. No special treatment is needed.
  • Keep skin clean and dry. Do not squeeze or apply any medications
Do not squeeze or apply medications
Showing erythema toxicum over the thigh of a baby

Erythema Toxicum

Descriptions

Cause
  • Unknown
Symptoms
  • White or yellow dots of the size of a needle tip, surrounded by blotchy redness
  • Commonly appear 2-3 days after birth.

Affected areas

  • Commonly found on cheeks, trunk, back, hands and feet

Treatment and prevention

  • Usually disappear on their own within a few days to weeks after birth. No special treatment is needed.
  • Do not squeeze or apply medications
Do not squeeze or apply medications
Showing seborrhoeaic dermatitis over the scalp of a baby

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis (Commonly known as ‘cradle cap’)

Descriptions

Cause
  • Not completely clear
Symptoms
  • Common among newborns
  • Appears slightly red
  • Small oily flakes or yellowish thick scales adhering to the scalp or eyebrows, forming a layer of scab
  • Commonly found when baby is 3 weeks to 3 months old
  • Subsides gradually at around 6 months old

Affected areas

  • Areas with lots of skin glands
  • e.g. head, forehead, cheeks, eyebrows, ears, armpits, belly and the folds between the thighs

Treatment and prevention

  • Keep baby’s skin clean.
  • Rinse the affected areas with water. Do not use soap / bath gel.
  • Apply moisturizing cream after cleaning to keep the skin moist
  • For thick scales on scalp, apply olive oil and leave on the scalp for 20 minutes to soften them. Wipe the scales off gently with cotton swabs.
  • Rinse with baby shampoo. Use a comb to clear away the adhered patches
Do not use soap / bath gel
Showing infantile eczema over the back of knee of a child

Infantile Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis

Descriptions

Cause
  • Unknown
  • Not infectious
  • More likely to appear in babies with family members suffering from allergies (e.g. asthma, allergic rhinitis) or being allergic to certain substances (e.g. pollen, detergents, dust or foods)
Symptoms
  • Commonly found in babies 2-3 months old
  • Appears red and dry. Sometimes, small blisters appear and scabs are formed when blisters broken
  • Baby will scratch the affected areas due to itchiness
  • Skin becomes thick and hard after scratching
  • In most cases, it appears before the age of 5 and fades away after 15. Some may persist into adulthood

Affected areas

  • Cheeks, elbows, knees, trunk and folds between thighs.
  • The affected areas will vary with age.
  • Commonly found on neck and folds on limbs when reach the age of 2.

Treatment and prevention

  • Keep skin clean and moist
  • Bathe baby with lukewarm water and non-alkaline bathing gel
  • Pay attention to cleaning the skin folds
  • Apply fragrance-free moisturizer after bath
  • Trim baby’s nails regularly to reduce the chance of skin injury by scratching. May put cotton gloves on baby if the baby scratches a lot
  • Pay attention to the temperature and humidity of the environment. Avoid exposing directly to strong sunlight or cold wind.

    Avoid exposing directly to strong sunlight or cold wind
  • Clean your home with wet cloth or vacuum cleaner to remove dust

    Vacuum cleaner
  • Do not keep furry pets
  • Choose cotton clothes for your baby. Avoid clothes made of wool, nylon or silk to be in direct contact with baby’s skin.

    Clothes made of cotton
  • Use mild detergent to wash baby’s clothes. Rinse with water thoroughly.
  • Breastfeeding may prevent eczema.
  • If symptoms persist or get worse, consult your doctor before applying any medications.
Showing heat rash over the back of a baby

Heat Rash/Prickly Heat

Descriptions

Cause
  • Usually in hot weather
  • Occurs when wrapped in excessive clothing
  • Caused by sweat staying on skin
Symptoms
  • Small raised red spots

Affected areas

  • Neck, back and chest

Treatment and prevention

  • Clean with a towel and water
  • Dress in appropriate amount of clothing
  • Keep skin dry and cool; reduce sweating
Showing diaper rash over the perineum of a baby

Diaper Rash/Nappy Rash

Descriptions

Cause
  • When skin is irritated by urine and faeces
Symptoms
  • Begins as red spot, then develops into small raised reddish rash
  • Sometimes spread to all areas covered by diaper

Affected areas

  • Vulva, perineum, buttocks and areas wrapped by diapers.
  • Sometimes may appear on lower abdomen and upper part of the thighs.

Treatment and prevention

  • Keep baby’s bottom clean and dry.
  • Clean with damp cotton wool when changing diapers.
  • Allow the bottom to air dry. Apply a thin layer of oil-based moisturizer (Vaseline) or zinc oxide cream to keep the urine and faeces from direct contact with the skin.
  • Do not use talcum powder. It will mix with urine or sweat to clog the sweat pores and worsen the condition.
Apply a thin layer of oil-based moisturizer (Vaseline) or zinc oxide cream

*If the above symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.

Breastmilk or infant formula?

Children’s early nutrition and dietary patterns have tremendous impact on their future growth and health. Therefore, how you are going to feed your baby is an important decision.

Breastfeeding is the natural and superior way of feeding. Breastmilk can provide babies with all the necessary nutrients as well as natural antibodies. The composition and supply of breastmilk will self-regulate with the baby’s growing needs. The intimate physical contact during breastfeeding enhances the bonding between mother and baby, thus brings satisfaction to the mother. These unique properties of breastfeeding cannot be replaced by infant formula feeding.

a mother breastfeeding her baby

Some mothers are unable to breastfeed or they may prefer infant formula for some reasons. Infant formulae can provide the basic nutrients for babies. However, parents must pay attention to the proper preparation of infant formula and ways of bottle feeding.

Spitting up

Babies may cry a lot or suck too rapidly in feeding. This will result in air being swallowed and gathered in the stomach. They may spit up a little milk together with the air during burping or when being laid down after feeding. Clean your baby well with a towel after spitting to decrease the chance of having rash caused by skin irritation.

Tips to reduce spitting up

  • Feed baby in a calm mood and peaceful surroundings.
  • Do not interrupt or distract your baby during feeding.
  • Don’t wait till your baby is too hungry to feed to avoid him suckling/ sucking too rapidly.
  • Avoid over-feeding your baby. Feed on demand no matter you are breastfeeding or use bottle feeding.
  • Make sure your baby suckles properly when breastfeeding.
  • Hold your baby in your arm instead of letting him lie down when bottle-feeding.
  • Tilt the bottle to let the teat filled with milk when bottle feeding. This will avoid your baby swallowing too much air.
  • Burp your baby half way during feeding or when baby has finished suckling one of your breasts.
  • Burp your baby until he has burped. However, babies do not burp all the time. In that case, you can continue to feed your baby after a few minutes of burping.
  • Hold your baby upright for about 20-30 minutes after burping before putting him down. If you need to put down your baby to sleep right away, you may raise the baby’s head and upper trunk slightly by putting extra towels or pillows under the mattress. Don’t put a pillow directly under your baby’s head to avoid the risk of suffocation.
Tilt the bottle to let the teat filled with milk when bottle feeding
Raise the baby's head and upper trunk slightly by putting extra towels or pillows under the mattress
Don't put a pillow directly under your baby's head to avoid the risk of suffocation

The difference between spitting up and vomiting

Spitting up:
a baby spitting up
Babies will have only one or two mouthfuls of milk draining from corner of mouth.
Vomiting:
a baby vomiting
Babies will throw up much greater amount of milk forcefully. If vomiting persists, you should consult the doctor as soon as possible.

Burping

  • Burp your baby after feeding or half way through feeding can reduce spitting up.
  • Although breastfed babies are less likely to spit up than bottle-fed babies, they still need to be burped.
  • Skills in burping video

Skills in burping – Cantonese version only

Note: Only Cantonese version is available.
Show Transcript

Hiccups

  • Hiccups are caused by sudden involuntary contractions of baby’s diaphragm
  • It is normal for babies to hiccup after feeding and they are not actually bothered
  • Most hiccups have no obvious reasons
  • Babies could have short period of hiccups when they have a full stomach after rapid sucking. Hiccups will stop without any treatment.
  • If you do want to do something to reduce the hiccups, you may let your baby suckle again on your breast. You can give your baby some lukewarm water if he is bottle-fed. Burping may be another way you can do.

Learning how to sleep

The advantages of having regular routines

When babies start to get used to their surroundings, parents should start establishing regular daily routines for them. Having regular feeding, bathing and sleeping hours can make the environment predictable and add a sense of security to your baby. By having a stable environment, your baby will be less likely to develop behavioural and emotional problems. You will then be easier to understand her temperament.

Showing a mother helps her baby develop regular sleep routine. She feeds her baby, baths her and puts her to sleep in her crib

Characteristics of babies’ sleep

Showing a baby sleeping without taking note of day or night

While the “job” of babies is eating and sleeping, you need to learn more about the characteristics of your baby’s sleep and establish a regular sleep routine for her.

Just as inside the mother’s womb, babies sleep whenever they are tired without taking note of day or night in their first couple of months. They have short sleep periods of 3 to 5 hours. They also wake up easily as about half of their sleep time is in the light sleep state.

When they are 3 months old, they can sleep for longer hours. Two-third of their sleep takes place at night time. When they reach 6 months old, around 50% of the babies can sleep at night for 6 hours.

The ideal sleep environment

Room temperature and ventilation

  • Room temperature should be comfortable and ventilation good.
  • Do not put on too much clothing or blankets on the baby to avoid her being too warm and unable to sleep.
  • Check the baby’s nape of her neck. Feeling just warm means that your baby is comfortable. If there is sweat, it may mean that it is too warm for your baby.
 

Sounds

Baby can fall asleep even if the surrounding is not completely quiet. Playing soft music and humming a lullaby to your baby can help her fall asleep.

 

Beddings

  • Cotton bed sheets and blankets are the best for the baby as they reduce the chance of getting allergies
  • Tucking the sides of the blanket underneath the mattress can avoid the blanket being shifted over to cover your baby’s head and prevent suffocation.
     
  • You may swaddle your baby in a blanket to make her feel secured. However, swaddling too tightly can affect breathing and will trap body heat. Also make sure your baby’s head and face are not covered.

Learning how to sleep

Differentiating day and night

Babies cannot tell day from night

Babies cannot tell day from night. How to teach babies to stay active during daytime and go to sleep at night seems to be a big challenge for parents. Parents however can start by emphasizing the difference in light and introducing a regular schedule to enable babies to establish their daily routines.

Light

  • There should be difference in the room light. The room should be well-lit in the daytime while lighting should be dimmed when it is time to sleep at night.
  • Some babies may wake up crying for scaring of the darkness. You may switch on a night-light to reassure your baby.
Showing the room is well-lit in daytime while dimmed at night

Regular daily routines

Showing baby having drooping eyelids
  • When your baby is awake in the daytime, you may play and talk actively with her to prevent your baby from sleeping too much during the day. When your baby gets tired as shown by having drooping eyelids, rubbing her face against you or yawning, let your baby have some sleep. On the other hand, you have to minimize her activities at night.
  • Try to finish the house chores as soon as possible, feed your baby and let her settle down. You can hum a tune and talk to your baby to calm her down. Then put your baby in bed, let your baby fall asleep on her own.
Then put your baby in bed, let your baby fall asleep on her own
Do not over excite your baby before bed time

Establishing bedtime routine

Developing regular sleep routine – English

Scene: Daddy plays with baby.

Mother: Baby, It’s time to sleep.

Daddy: Oh, she is tired now. Let her sleep in my arms.

Mother: It’s not a good idea. Baby will only sleep when you hold her. Actually, I have already helped her develop a regular sleep routine.

Daddy: Regular sleep routine?

Narrator: When your baby reaches 2 to 3 months old, you can help her develop a regular sleep routine. This is about associating your baby’s particular daily activities with going to sleep. In this way, babies learn to fall asleep on their own after the series of activities. Babies have different characteristics. You can help your baby develop sleep routines according to her characteristics and habits. Here are two examples.

Sub-heading: Feed your baby. Burp her and hum a tune to her. When your baby gets sleepy, put her in bed. Turn off the light.

Narrator: Here is another example.

Sub-heading: Bathe your baby. Feed your baby. Burp her. Have a little chat with your baby. Put your baby in bed when she gets sleepy. Play soft music and dim the light. Let her fall asleep on her own. Developing regular sleep routine for your baby makes baby care easier for you.

 
  • When babies reach 2 to 3 months old, parents can try to set up a regular bedtime routine for them, i.e., helping babies to learn to associate particular activities with going to sleep and let them fall asleep on their own.
  • When babies have got used to fall asleep in their bed, it is easier for them to fall back to sleep even if they wake up in the middle of the night.
  • You can set up a special bedtime routine for your baby according to her temperament and daily routines.

Poor Sleeping Habits

Never let your baby develop poor sleeping habits. For instance, some babies can only fall asleep when being taken in their parents’ bed or arms, being rocked or fed. Once if these undesirable patterns have developed into routines in your baby, it means that your baby would depend totally on your attention and company to fall asleep every night; moreover, your baby could hardly fall back to sleep without your warm embrace or comfort derived from suckling/sucking on the teat.

What happen if your baby falls asleep during feeding?

  • It is common for babies to fall asleep during feeding, especially those under 1 month old who need to be fed frequently.
  • If your baby falls asleep during feeding, you can stop feeding her. Burp your baby and put her on bed. You can feed her a bit earlier next time so that your baby won’t be too tired at feeding time.
    Baby sleeping in own bed
  • As your baby needs less frequent night feeding when she grows, it would be a good time for you to establish sleep routine for your baby to help your baby sleep on her own.
  • If your baby wakes up and cries at night, you need to find out what she needs such as changing a wet nappy, company or feeding. You should not feed your baby if she is not hungry to avoid your baby depending on sucking or suckling to fall back to sleep.

Note: Establishing a successful sleep routine for your baby includes steps of having the baby fed, nappy changed and your baby starts to show signs of tiredness before you put her in bed. There is no quick fix to baby’s sleeping problems.

Therefore, in developing a sleep routine for your baby, you need to be patient and persistent and pay attention to factors that may affect your baby’s sleep.

Baby’s safe sleeping position and environment

Baby’s safe sleeping position and environment

Narrator: Let babies sleep on their backs

Sleep in their own cot

Dress them in light and comfortable wear

They do not need pillows

Leave their arms uncovered

Don’t place any soft and fluffy objects in the cot

Leave no gaps between the mattress and the cot

Distance between the vertical bars of the cot should be less than 6 cm

Place the baby cot next to the parents’ bed

If you need to share a bed with your baby for some reason, give him a separate blanket; for a baby aged less than 3 months old, you may place him in a basket

Don’t take alcohol or drugs if you are to sleep with babies.

Keep good ventilation and a comfortable temperature. There should not be any smokers in the family

Don’t leave babies alone on a bed or sofa without guards

Lastly, breastfeeding can protect against SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome in subtitle), after feeding and burping the babies, put them in the cot when they look sleepy. That helps them build a good sleeping habit.

Please visit www.fhs.gov.hk

 

Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

SIDS or cot death refers to sudden death of a baby while sleeping during the first year, most commonly around 2-3 months old, with an unknown cause. This syndrome is unpredictable though is rare in Hong Kong (1 to 3 out of every 10,000 babies may die of this syndrome). You can prevent it by using effective preventive practices for your baby. Safe sleeping positions can reduce the risk of SIDS. Having your baby sleep on his back is 6 times safer than sleeping on his front, twice as safe as sleeping on his side.

In addition, a smoke-free environment, vaccinations and breast-feeding can also reduce the risk in your baby.

safe sleeping position for baby

How to create a safe sleep environment?

Ensuring the safety of your baby’s sleep environment is of paramount importance. An unsafe sleep environment can be fatal to your baby.

Here is a checklist of a safe sleep environment for babies. How many of these are you doing?

  • Sleeping with your baby in the same room in separate beds

    Sleeping with your baby in the same room in separate beds

  • The distance between the bars of the crib should be less than 6cm (2.5″)

  • Remember to pull up and lock the rail of the crib when you leave your baby alone in crib

    Pull up and lock the rail of the crib

  • The size of the mattress should be fitted in the crib to prevent baby from rolling into the gap

  • Make sure baby’s face and head are exposed above the blanket to prevent smothering and overheating

  • Let your baby wear light and comfortable clothing at bedtime

  • Keep the room well-ventilated with comfortable temperature for your baby

The following 4 situations may threaten your baby’s sleep safety. ‘Watch out’ and ‘Don’t do’ these:

  • Mattress too soft and thick will make baby easily roll over to a face- down position which may lead to suffocation.

  • Use baby pillow or let baby sleep on big, soft and fluffy beddings or other objects. These include light, soft blankets or duvets, sheep skin, bean bag chair, bumper, pillows or stuffed toys. Your baby could be smothered easily when the objects cover the baby.

  • Place things other than beddings (e.g. toys and clothing) in baby’s bed.

  • Too much clothing or too many blankets can make the baby too hot.

Safety notes on using a baby carrier

Many parents like carrying babies in a baby carrier for the convenience of care and the ease of going about. Baby carriers can be found in different styles. They can basically be divided into the carrier and sling types; or the soft and the structured/backpack types. Different style has its advantages and disadvantages. Whatever type you use, you must pay attention to the safety issues in using baby carriers.

Sling type

Wrap-around sling

Wrap-around sling

Ring sling

Ring sling

Pouch sling

Pouch sling

Carrier type

Mei tai

Mei tai

Traditional mei tai

Traditional mei tai

Traditional mei tai

Traditional mei tai

Backpack

Backpack

Soft structured carrier

Soft structured carrier

Can babies skip vaccination?

Although your baby may have some discomfort when taking vaccination, it can protect your baby’s health. As young babies are vulnerable to infections, to protect your baby against diseases and strengthen her immunity, you should bring her at allotted time to receive the appropriate vaccines and boosters. Immunisation can be given by injection or by mouth. When the vaccines are injected into the body, antibodies will be produced to give immunity against diseases.
Immunization card

You can bring your newborn to 5 year old child to the Maternal and Child Health Centres of Department of Health(DH), private hospitals or clinics for immunisation. The School Immunisation team of DH will visit primary schools to provide injection to students. You can also bring your child to private doctors for vaccination.

Vaccinations provided in Maternal and Child Health Centres (DH) for 1-4 months olds

Age Immunisation recommended No. of dose Method of Immunisation
1 month Hepatitis B vaccine 2nd dose Injection
2 months Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and inactivated poliomyelitus vaccine 1st dose Injection
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 1st dose Injection
4 months Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and inactivated poliomyelitus vaccine 2nd dose Injection
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 2nd dose Injection

Besides those vaccines recommended by the Department of Health for inclusion in the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme, some private doctors and hospitals may provide other vaccines to protect children from certain infectious diseases. Parents should seek advice from their family doctor before getting their children immunised.

What to do when your baby has fever?

Many parents are worried about what may come if their babies have got fever. Fever simply means a higher than normal body temperature, and is something that is experienced by every child one time or another. It is important to learn about the causes for fever and how to care about babies with fever and to watch out for signs of deterioration of the condition.

The normal temperature of a child varies depending from which part of the body temperature is taken:

Method used Children’s normal body temperature
Infrared Tympanic (eardrum) 35.8°C – 38°C (96.4°F – 100.4°F)
Digital Axilliary (armpit) 34.7°C – 37.3°C (94.5°F – 99.1°F)
Digital Rectal 36.6°C – 38°C (97.9°F – 100.4°F)

Q: Why would children get fever?

Fever is a symptom of possible underlying illnesses. Fever is also a physiological response to vaccination. It is a sign that the body’s immune system is functioning normally against infections. If your baby has fever after vaccination, he will be likely to recover within 2 to 3 days. All you need is simply to take good care of the child and monitor his body temperature.

A teddy bear having tympanic temperature of 38°C

Q: Should I bring my baby to the doctor immediately whenever she has a fever?

If your baby develops a fever after vaccination, you can take care of her according to the advice given by the health personnel first. However, if it is not related to the vaccination, she could be ill. You should bring her to the doctor immediately. Although fever does not usually indicate serious underlying illness, however, if your baby is 2 months old or younger, has problem in immune system, or has other special health problems, you should take her to the doctor immediately even though her body temperature is at the upper limit of the normal range.

How to measure a child’s temperature?

Apart from complying with the doctor’s treatment and prescription, you should closely monitor the conditions of your baby and give proper care at home. You may check your baby’s body temperature every 4 hours if necessary to monitor the fever.

Common types of thermometers for young children
Types of Thermometers Digital Infrared Tympanic
Body parts to be checked Armpit and Rectum Eardrum
Accuracy
  • The sensor should be placed correctly
  • The rectal route is commonly considered as accurate
The sensor should be placed correctly.
Price Economical More expensive
Convenience Easy to use
  • Easy to use
  • Quick to obtain the body temperature reading
Remarks

Oral temperature taking is not recommended for babies and young children

Armpit temperature taking is the safest and may be preferred for babies under 3 months.

Some may consider the rectal route as unacceptable and has risk of injury to the bowel.

Not suitable if
  • ear canal filled with wax or fluid
  • history of trauma to head / ear

Note: Do not use mercury thermometer for safety reason as it may break easily and has toxic mercury spillage as a result.

Digital Thermometer
Things needed when using the digital thermometer:
  • Digital thermometer
  • 70% alcohol
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Lubricant (for rectal use)
  • Watch / Timer
  • Diapers (when necessary)
Steps in using a digital thermometer

For a better understanding on the use of digital thermometers, you can watch the demonstration video

Steps in using Digital Thermometer

Narrator: Digital thermometers are used to test baby’s rectal and axillary temperature, Sterilize the thermometer with alcohol before use, then switch it on.

Sub-Heading: Taking the axillary temperature

Narrator: Hold the baby in your arm or lay her on the bed. Put the end of the thermometer in firm and direct contact with her armpit. Hold the thermometer in place by pressing baby’s arm against her body. Keep the thermometer in place until you hear the beeps.

Sub-Heading: Taking the rectal temperature

Narrator: Taking rectal temperature is similar to taking axillary temperature. Sterilize the thermometer first and apply some lubricant over the sensor end. For newborns and young infants, lay them on the bed when taking rectal temperature. Lift up the baby’s feet and seperate her buttocks. Insert the thermometer into her anus to about 1.3 to 2.5cm, that is, about half to full length of your finger tip. Hold it in place and avoid pushing it in too far. Clean the baby’s anus and place her in a safe place before you read the temperature. Record the temperature reading and turn off the thermometer. Clean the thermometer with alcohol before storing it.

 
Infrared Tympanic Thermometer
Notes on using the infrared tympanic thermometer
  • As there is temperature difference between ears, always take temperature from the same ear during the period of temperature monitoring.
  • Take 3 measurements from the same ear at a time and settle on the highest temperature.
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the normal temperature range.
Steps in using infrared tympanic thermometer

For a better understanding on the use of the infrared tympanic thermometer, watch the demonstration video.

Steps in using infrared tympanic thermometer

Narrator: Before using the tympanic thermometer, calibrate it according to the manufacturer’s instruction regularly. Use a new probe cover on the thermometer every time. Straighten the baby’s ear canal to detect the temperature accurately. For babies under one year old, pull their ears straight back. For children over one year old and adults, pull their ears backward and upward. Every time, take 3 measurements for the same ear and take the highest reading as the baby’s temperature. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instruction for the reference normal temperature range, as it varies with different brands and models. Clean the probe according to the instruction every time after use. Discard the probe cover after use.

 

Caring for your feverish baby at home

 
Method Applicable conditions DOs DON’Ts

Taking prescribed medication

  • Body temperature is higher than normal
  • Baby showing signs of discomfort
  • Instructed by doctor
  • Give fever reducing medication to baby according to doctor’s prescriptions
  • Medication to be given every 4-6 hours

Give the baby medication in whatever ways and at whatever time you like because overdose can be harmful to your baby

Dressing your baby comfortably

Anytime

  • Change the wet clothes with dry ones immediately.
  • Choose cotton clothing for baby which absorbs sweat well.

Put on too many layers of clothes will overheat the baby.

Keeping good ventilation

Anytime

Keep the room ventilated by having the windows opened or turning on an air-conditioner or electric fan.

Shut all windows and door

Extra fluid intake

Anytime

  • Extra fluid intake is needed to replace the fluid loss from fever.
  • Breast-fed babies should only need to increase in the intake of breastmilk (which contains plenty of water). Watch out for signs of dehydration in your baby eg., dry mouth, absence of tears, poor overall appearance, sunken eyeball and sunken soft spot on the skull

No extra fluid intake apart from the daily milk intake

Having enough rest and nutrients

Anytime

  • Let baby take more rest at home as he feels tired when having fever.
  • Keep the normal diet if baby is willing to eat.
  • Engaging baby in too many activities
  • Go to playgroup or preschool

Sponging with lukewarm water

To make your baby feel more comfortable when she:

  • is unable to take oral drugs
  • vomits after taking drug
  • is extremely fussy and irritable
  • Seat your baby in a bath of lukewarm water. Use a cloth to spread water overbaby’s body for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove baby from bath when he starts to shiver or the water turns cool.

Avoid using cold water and alcohol to cool down the fever, as it could cause shiver and the body temperature could rise instead.

Signs to seek further medical advice:

Supports from family
  • You can use the above methods together to reach the optimal results. However, pay close attention to your babies’ conditions when applying these methods.
  • Whatever the reason for your baby’s fever, if any one of the following signs appears in the baby or you are concerned/distress, you should take him to the doctor immediately:
    • Having a fit
    • Developing rash
    • Being less well or not feeding well
    • Having persistent fever
    • Having signs of dehydration
  • Taking care of a baby with fever and monitoring his situation day and night can be demanding and exhausting. You can consult experienced relatives or friends in managing your baby’s fever. Always seek support from and share your stress with your family.