24 answers

Low Body Temperature in a Baby?

Hi moms,
Last night my almost 1 year old son had a very low body temperature. We measured using the ear thermometer, and it came up as 94.7, and rectally 94.6, and then 10 minutes later 95 degrees. We obviously called the doctor right away, and she sent us to the ER. By the time we got to ER, his temperature was 98.7. The whole time, even with low temp he was acting fine. The doctor says she doesn't know what it could have been, and I'm very concerned not knowing the cause of the issue. His room was at 75 degrees, and he wears layers to bed, so I know he wasn't just cold. Has anyone had a similar experience? Or does anyone have any thoughts what it could have been? I just wanna make sure this doesn't happen again.
Thank you so much!

MORE INFO: As I said above, we tried 2 different thermometers, one ear, and one rectal, and we measured more than once. We also tried to measure my husband's temperature with the ear one, and he had a normal reading.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My husband and daughter(now 17rysold)both run low grade fevers when they do not feel well, not major sick just under the weather. It might be similliar.

More Answers

Hi Z.!

I am hoping this finds that your son is doing well and his temp staying in the normal range! My daughter also becomes hypothermic. It took a long time to convince her Drs why and many tests to rule out other things before they finally believed me.... This may be a long email! Go grab a cup of coffee! lol

I am assuming that they did labs on him. If so make sure you get a copy of them for your own records. Any indications of highs or lows make sure you question your Dr about them and what it could mean. Most are probably nothing when they are off but to put your own mind at ease ask! Be careful when reading the results of labs as many times they put the general number it should be in but they are for adults and not infants or children.

One possible cause is infection. Yes, generally the temperature will raise but not all the time. Blood work would show if he is fighting an infection that you may not even be aware of.

I noticed you say you have his bedroom at 75 degrees. Was he sweating? Do you have a ceiling fan on also in there for white noise or circulation? If he was sweaty and a fan on it can cause him to lose body heat very fast. Especially in children and infants.

Another cause is Thyroid problems. If this continues have them check his T4 and TSH to see where it is and if it is in the normal range for his age.

ANother is Autonomic and Endocrine Disorders. Things like Diabetes and more. Again, if this continues they will probably want to rule these things out.

In my daughters case hers is caused from Anaphylaxis. She has a very rare disease called Mastocytosis. She will be exposed to a trigger- and hers change from day to day- and have an allergic reaction. The final stage of it being shock and her temp has gone as low as 91 degrees. Unfortunately many times I do not catch it until this point because it can happen at anytime with her and usually at night. I have an AngelCare baby monitor which detects movement including breathing.... this is how I have found out because her alarm will sound and I check and she is barely breathing (shallow but not wheezing or anything like you would expect in an allergic reaction) and her fingers were ice cold. She is allergic to NSAIDS and the first time she had a fever after the 3rd dose of Motrin I put her to bed and then she became hypothermic. It is way to long for me to explain her disease and what happens exactly to her.... and please do not think I am saying this is what your son has!!!!

What I am trying to say is it is possible he may be having an allergic reaction to something he ate especially since you probably recently started on solids! An allegic reaction can take up to 12 hours to present itself. Did you notice any other symptoms? Flushing, fever, puffy eyes or nose etc...What was his pulse rate? What were his vital signs at the hospital? What color was his skin tone... was it pale? Was he clammy? You will not always have breathing problems although that is the most commonly discussed symptom with an allergic reaction. Did he have a bout of diarrhea or vomiting or anything else that you would have just thought, oh he is sick? The GI symptoms is what tells me now when ours is about to have a reaction and then I have to wait it out!

Ok, as for what to do. Our Dr suggested a warm bath- do not get his hair wet though!!!! While he is in the bath put a couple of blankets in the dryer to heat up. When you get him out of the bath dry him off and then do skin to skin contact with you or your hubby under the warmed blankets. Push warm fluids while he is under there with you plus it will help him to want to cuddle longer if he is a wiggle worm like my daughter. We also give her her prescription daily meds for allergies.... talk to your Dr if you believe it may be allergy related about giving Benedryl when it happens to see if it helps!

Anyhow, we have 1 hour from the time we find out she is hypothermic to get her temp up to 96 degrees. If at that time it does not then we have to call an ambulance and have her brought into the ER. At the ER they do vitals and start her on a warm IV fluids, heated blankets and heat packs and this time I got them to give her Benedryl in her IV. Usually by the time she gets to the ER her temp will miraculously go almost to around 95-96! lol I swear the nurses think I am loony but thank God the Drs read all of my papers I bring in about her disease and will usually follow what I tell them to do, I think it helps that I am also an EMT though.... again her disease is rare and the ER just does not know what to do for her except to Google it and then scratch their heads! lol

I wish I had an exact answer for you as to what caused this in your son. Hopefully it is just a fluke and will not happen again. If it does just remember You are your childs best advocate! Do not give in if you are concerned, get the answers you are seeking! It took me over a year to get my daughter diagnosed and we are still looking for a Dr who knows more than just what they read in a book about it around here... the closest specialist is in Michigan for her! Ughhhhhh! I had her Drs telling me that she is not becoming hypothermic because of an allergic reaction and they just kept running tests. FINALLY this last week her pediatrician agreed with me and said that is what it was- he was not the one who thought it was other things though! Now we are looking for a new med that she is not allergic to to use at home since she is allergic to a couple of ingredients in the OTC Benedryl- go figure and if it is too close to her daily meds then I can not give it to her!

Please let us know what happens and if it happens again. I am very curious since you are the 2nd person besides my daughter who has a child who this happens to that I know of. Also for the next week or so do temp checks everytime you do a diaper change... do it under the arm so you do not traumatize him unless it is low. Get an idea of what he is at normally during different times of the day. I also bought 2 extra thermometers. If one says it is low I will check the other 2 also just to be sure. It ticks me off when the nurses tell me mine is wrong- it isnt!

Blessings to you and yours!
- T.

1 mom found this helpful

Our son sleeps in a room that is about 62 degrees with a sleeper and wrapped in a miracle blanket. His body temp is probably around 95-96 degrees. Some days he feels warm other days he feels normal and still has that temperature range. Even at his peditrician appointments he has read low but has never shown signs of being sick or cold and the peditrcian is not concerned. It very well could just be how he is. I seldmon have a body temperature above 95 degrees and there is nothing wrong with me so I suspect my son has inherited it from me.


Although I'm not certain for the cause of your son's low body temp, I do know that babies have difficulty maintaining body temperature. My pediatrician told me that babies loose up to 60 percent of their body heat through their head. You might want to put a little night hat on him before he goes to bed.


Could it just be your thermometer at home was inaccurate? Often the baby thermometers one can buy in the store just aren't as accurate as what they have in the hospital, even when used rectally. For this reason, I use 2 different thermometers at home to make sure before I call the doctor. Could it be his temp was fine the whole time? Especially since he was acting fine the whole time. Just a thought... I know it's hard not to worry about our LO's.
All the best to you.

I know other people have said this too...but I think you need to go get a good rectal thermometer. Ear temps are usually wrong and usually low, and unless you have a hospital grade thermometer, the ear ones we have at home aren't very good. I have one but only use it to help me decide whether we are really going to take someone's temp. I've had it be off my more than 5 degrees. I've taken my own temp with it 6 times ( 3x each ear) and gotten 6 wildly different readings. I just can't stress enough that with young children, rectal temps are the only way to go. The first question our pediatrician ever asks when we call w/ a child w/ a fever is "how did you take their temperature?" When you take a rectal temp you are confident that the temp is right. Good luck!

Did you check your own temp with the thermometers? Was his color changed like blueish lips and fingers? If not don't worry so much. Also maybe if it happens again be very aware of what he was doing at the time and write it down. Good Luck!!

This happened to my daughter when she was about 2. She had woken up in the middle of the night and seemed a bit "off." I can't remember what made me think I should take her temp, but it was low like your child's. I called the doc in the middle of the night and she didn't sound too happy once I told her that she didn't really have any other symptoms. Anyway, we put her back to bed and she was fine. We never figured out what was going on, but it hasn't happened since. I remember that I had googled low body temp and toddlers and came up with nothing either...

Same thing happened to my son last spring. He had a really bad cold/virus. High fevers initially with runny nose and bad cough. He actually started to feel better, then I got home from work one night, and he was just moaning and crying for me. He was pouring sweat (so wet with sweat I changed his clothes),but was complaining he was freezing. I took his temp. and it was 95 degrees, took it again because I thought I must have read it wrong. It was 94 somthing. I called his doctor right away, he said that viral infections can do this, especially if you have been administiring tylenol and/or ibuprofin for days to lower a high fever. He had me wake him every half hour through the night and check his temperature. If it went any lower I was to take him to the emergency room. He also told me that a low temp. with chills can be a sign of pneumonia, which my son had had the previous fall, although only high fevers and vomiting with that bout. Anyhow, by the next morning he was almost as good as new. Hope this helps. I hope your son feels better soon :)

I was once told that our body temp drops at night like our blood pressure while we rest. Maybe it's something as easy as that. I hope so mom.

What were his symptoms that made you think that you had to check his temperature??? If he really didn't have any symptoms, then, I would not give it another thought.

I was a child who would get chilled. I was also very slender and have always been tall (my sisters called me skinny!) At 5 years old, my parents brought me to the dr. because I they thought I was underweight, even though I had a voracious appetite. The dr. dismissed it as genetics. (And, yes, I still wish I had that great metabolism!) It's just something my body did. If he really didn't have any symptoms other than his skin feeling cool, I wouldn't worry about it. If his lips turned blue and you wrapped him in a blanket to warm him and he still didn't warm, then I would pursue it. Good luck.

My daughter had this happen to her in April. Her body temperature was 94.5, then after an hour and a half of trying to warm her she only went up to 94.7. She was acting fine also. What alarmed us was she woke up and was making weird noises. We ran to her room and she was sitting up fine and then started talking to us (she was about 26 months old). We tried warming her on our own, but after an hour and a half we called the doctor and rushed her to the ER. The whole time in the car we had the vents blowing directly on her and her heaviest coat and a couple blankets covering her. When we got to the ER the Triage nurse took her temp and it had gone up to 97.5. Then they basically told me I crazy and that she just needed some juice. I left there so angry. Nothing ever came of it. She is fine now, but I still worry that if she hadn't of woke up that she would have become too cold to survive. I took her to a couple of doctors and every one just said "that's weird". One finally said it could have been an infection and they did a blood test. But everything came back normal. Try asking your doctor to do a blood test to look for infection. I hope everything is okay. Keep us posted.

ive had the same thing happen & it was the thermometer. i returned it and learned that those can be very inaccurate especially if temp taken continually. now i use a regular digital one or the 'old timey' mercury filled ones.
hope everything is ok,

I agree with the moms that ear thermometers can be unreliable. I remember reading, or being told, somewhere that for smaller ears, holding it pointed upwards (so you're actually holding the thermometer upside-down) works best. When I do it that way on my kids, I tend to get a more accurate reading. When I do it right-side up on my ear, it also seems to be more accurate. The tip doesn't fit small ears like it does adult ears, so it's hard to tell if it's bouncing off the right part of the inner ear and if the reading is correct. When I get a low reading on my kids, I either do it a few more times or assume it's just wrong.

My kids usually have the "normal" body temp but do occasionally run lower. I have never worried about it. My own body temp runs on the lower side, around 95 or 96. If the temp is lower, I wait an hour and then take it again to see if there is a change. Usually it just lasts a little bit at a really low temp. I have told the doc and she was fine with doing this unless the child is really lethargic. For my own temp, I usually range about 96.2 or so and it has never been a worry (my bp is usually really low also).

I think 75 is way too warm with layers on too! The room should be around 60-70 degrees. Im not sure about the low body temp, but i would be concerned about over heated the child in a room that warm. If you cant lower the heat, dress him in only one layer.

Use a different thermometer. Sometimes the battery could be low or some just don't work well. Ones that are used from the ear are least accurate.

Did you ever figure out what was wrong? My 1 year old has something very similar now. We took him to the ER also. After screaming his head of which warmed him up a little his rectal temp was 97.8 which they said was normal but is still very low for him, especially bring bundled up and crying so much

My husband and daughter(now 17rysold)both run low grade fevers when they do not feel well, not major sick just under the weather. It might be similliar.

On a side note...75 degrees is probably too hot, and with layers! It is said that between 58-68 is good sleeping temperature. We keep ours at a constant 64. Our 1 yr old wears a onsie, feetie pj and a sleep sack. With that he is very warm...we were even thinking of lowering it even more at night.

Maybe it was low, or maybe not? I've heard the ear thermometers are very difficult to get an accurate temp.

Rectal should be more accurate. Now that you think he's fine, have you tried the rectal again at home to make sure that you get around 98.6 at home with that thermometer? Possible that it wasn't inserted correctly or he wiggled around during the reading?

Just some ideas...

The ear thermometers are highly inaccurate and inconsistent. Before seeking medical treatment you should double-check with a mercury thermometer. Anal temp. is the best way. If your child fights you on this, you should try an oral thermometer. If they just bite on the oral one, you can place it under their armpit for a couple of minutes then ad 1 degree to the registered temp.

I have used ear thermometers with similar experiences, I usually test myself as a baseline to see if it's working, utimately I just stopped using it, even though it is so convenient, it was way too inaccurate...hope that helps.

My daughter has an ear canal that does not allow for an ear thermometer to be effective. While I know this is way more painful for Mom's than it is for baby do a rectal temp. As this will be the true core temp for the baby. After that if it is truly low then I would suggest checks of thyroid, and any other process that could control temp. Including a test for allergies and intolerances for food.

Just a thought.

Did you try a dif. thermometer?? We took our son to the e.r. once with the flu and he was almost treated for hypothermia because the first thermometer they took his temp with was broken. I convinced them to try again with a dif one and he was fine!

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