How Often Should I Check a Sleeping Child's Fever?

When your child is battling a fever-causing illness, you want him to get as much sleep as he needs. It can be difficult for a parent to go the whole night without knowing whether the child's fever has broken, but in general, ensuring a sound sleep is more important than monitoring his temperature. As long as your child isn't displaying severe symptoms that might warrant a call to the emergency room, there is no real reason to wake your sick child.


Fever isn't an illness in and of itself, but simply a sign that the body is overheated or attempting to fight off an illness. Children with a low fever might not show any other symptoms and might fall asleep easily and sleep comfortably through the night. When a fever rises to above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, your child might experience sweating or chills that make sleeping difficult. If the fever is not severe, she might be able to sleep comfortably for a few hours or even all night long.

Sleep and Fever

You should never wake a sleeping child to check his fever. Adequate, restful sleep is essential to help your child recover from his illness. Instead, when your child is preparing for bed, remove excess clothing and take heavy blankets off of the bed. In warmer weather, you can place a fan in the room to keep air circulating and help cool your child down. Try to keep the bedroom temperature between 70 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to provide your child with the maximum amount of sleep, give him fever-reducing medication, such as children's ibuprofen or children's acetaminophen, just before he goes to bed. In general, a sleeping child will wake himself if his fever rises too high for comfort, and you can take his temperature at that time.


If your child has a bath before bedtime or eats something, you should wait at least 30 minutes before taking her temperature. This might require keeping her awake for a short time so that you can check it before she goes to bed. If you give your child medication before bed to bring down a fever, there is no need to wake her to check if the medication is working. If she can get to sleep, consider the medication a success.


If your child is breathing faster than normal or having trouble breathing while sleeping or awake, these could be signs of a more serious problem, and you should report these symptoms to a doctor. In the morning, you can take your child's temperature shortly after waking and determine whether a call to the doctor is warranted. If your child won't wake up at all or cannot stay awake, call 911.

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