Parental fever attitude and management: influence of parental ethnicity and child's age

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2010 May;26(5):339-42. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181db1dce.


Objective: The objective was to study parental fever management and attitude toward fever from the perspective of the child's ethnicity and age.

Patients and setting: Children with fever presenting at the pediatric emergency department (PED) of the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in the period from February 2002 to March 2004.

Design: Prospective observational.

Main outcome measures: Parental fever attitude and management assessed by a questionnaire.

Results: Two hundred eleven children with fever (median age, 1.2 years; interquartile range, 0.7-2.0 years) were included, of whom 108 (55%) were boys. One hundred fourteen children (54%) were self-referrals at the PED. Accompanying symptoms were reported in 95% (50% had > or = 3); median temperature measured at PED was 39.5 degrees C (interquartile range, 38.9 degrees C-40.8 degrees C). One hundred fifty-five parents (74%) had used antipyretics to reduce fever, and 155 parents (74%) were worried about fever and its possible complications. Differences between Dutch and non-Dutch ethnicities were seen in temperature-reducing techniques, self-referral, and parental anxiety of fever and its complications. Age did not influence parental fever attitude and management.

Conclusions: For most children in our population, the use of antipyretics was justified, as the majority of our children visiting the PED for an acute febrile episode are young infants, in particular with a high degree of fever and accompanying symptoms. We confirm and extend previous findings of ethnicity influencing parental fever management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / ethnology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Temperature
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Fever / drug therapy
  • Fever / ethnology*
  • Fever / psychology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thermometers


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic