Though you are often able to gage a fever by feeling your child’s forehead or hands, a thermometer provides the most accurate temperature reading. There are several different methods for taking your child’s temperature, depending on age and preferences.

Choosing the Best Thermometer:

Birth to 3 Years: Digital thermometers inserted in the rectum provide the most accurate temperature reading in infants.

3 Months to 4 Years: In children ages 3 months to 4 years

School Aged Children: Oral readings are the best method for taking a child’s temperature. This method provides a more accurate temperature reading than ear or axillary devices.

Getting a Proper Reading:

Rectal Temperature: To take a baby’s temperature rectally, first you will turn on the digital thermometer and lubricate the tip with petroleum jelly. With your child laying on your back, lift his or her legs and insert the thermometer approximately a half an inch to an inch into the rectum. Hold the thermometer in place until you hear a beep and then slowly remove the device. Read the number before cleaning the thermometer with rubbing alcohol and rinsing with cold water.

Oral Temperature: After turning on the thermometer, place it under your child’s tongue in the back of the mouth. For the most accurate reading, ensure that your child closes their lips around the thermometer and wait 15 minutes after your child has had anything to eat or drink to insert the device.

Armpit Temperature: When taking your child’s temperature via their armpit it is important to place the thermometer under the arm where it touches skin, not clothing. Hold the device securely in place until you hear a beep, then remove the thermometer to read the number.

Ear Temperature: Turn on the thermometer and gently insert it into your child’s ear. Be sure you are not inserting the device too far into the ear. Securely hold the thermometer in the ear until you hear a beep before removing the device.

While a fever can be a common sign of illness, it isn’t always something to cause concern. If your child is acting normally and continuing to drink plenty of fluids and sleep well, the fever is nothing to be overly concerned with. In children older than 6 months, over the counter pain relievers such as Advil or Children’s Motrin.

Readings of 100.4 on an ear or rectal thermometer, 100F orally or 99F via an armpit thermometer all indicate a fever. Visit our Chattanooga urgent care for children in your child has a fever over 100.4F and is younger than 3 months old. It is also important to contact a pediatrician if your child has a fever over 102F and is irritable, lethargic or uncomfortable.

There are a variety of thermometers on the market. When selecting one, be sure to choose one that you are comfortable using. For more information on fevers or thermometers, contact the pediatric urgent specialists at NiteOwl Pediatrics.