How to Take an Infant’s or Child’s Temperature

Does your child have a fever? Here are some tips for taking an infant's or young child's temperature.

A fever is a warning sign in young children that should not be taken lightly. When your child feels warm to the touch or lethargic you probably should take his or her temperature. Children’s bodies respond amazingly well to fever and they do not always require medication or medical attention. In this article learn how to take your child’s temperature and when to call the doctor.

Thermometers today are often easier to use than the old mercury thermometers. They are better in that they give you a quicker result. Just always read the instructions that come with your thermometer and never leave your child unattended while taking his or her temperature.

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Types of Thermometers:

Temperature Taking Tips:

Rectum: Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly. Lay the child face down across your lap, or on his or her side in the fetal position on the bed. Insert the thermometer no more than an inch into the rectum. Stop if you feel resistance. Hold thermometer in place until it beeps.

Mouth: Wait 20 to 30 minutes after the child finishes eating or drinking. Place tip of thermometer under tongue. Child should keep his or her lips closed and breathe through the nose. Remove at the beep.


Armpit: Remove child’s clothing above waist and place thermometer under child’s armpit. Thermometer must touch skin and not clothing.

For newborns, babies less than three months old, start with an armpit temperature. If the armpit temperature is higher than 99 F (37.2 C), take a second measurement rectally. Infants and newborns up to three months of age with a rectal temperature higher than 100.4 F (38 C) require immediate medical attention.

For children 3 months old to 4 years old check temperature rectally or with an electronic pacifier thermometer or ear thermometer. Children 4 years old and older can use an oral digital thermometer under the tongue.

Whatever method you use be sure to read the instructions that come with your thermometer, and never leave the child unattended while taking the temperature. When should you call the doctor?

Infants younger than three months with temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or an older child with a fever higher than 104 F (40 C).

Keep the child drinking fluids. If he or she continues to play and is responding to you normally there is no need to give medications unless ordered specifically by your doctor. However, if the child is listless, vomiting persistently, or complaining of headache or stomachache, contact your doctor or seek medical emergency care. If you give fever-reducing medication and the child does not respond or if a febrile seizure occurs, seek medical attention and/or emergency medical attention.

If you are searching for a trusted doctor for your infant’s ear, then visit the Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona.

Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine.

Reprinted with permission.

 

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Does your child have a fever? Here are some tips for taking an infant's or young child's temperature.

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