Body Temperature & Skin Color

Q. Does a newborn baby’s skin get red and mottled looking when she is cold?

A. Usually the skin is pale and mottled because a cold baby constricts blood vessels to the skin to decrease blood flow and decrease heat exchange between the 98ish degree body and the 70 degree air. Conversely, babies with fevers dilate those same blood vessels to increase heat exchange. Their skin can feel really hot. Hands and feet can feel strangely cold because blood pressure is preserved by constricting the vessels going to the extremities.