When your child feels warm or seems out of sorts, knowing if a fever might be the cause can be helpful.
Here's how to take your child's temperature, safely and accurately.
What Type of Thermometer Should I Use?
Digital thermometers give the quickest, most accurate readings, and are the only kind that doctors currently recommend.
Three types are available:
Regular digital thermometers are straight with a temperature sensor at the tip and an easy-to-read digital display. They can be used to measure rectal, oral, or axillary (armpit) temperatures.
Ear digital thermometers measure the heat waves from the eardrum through a plastic probe put inside the ear. These are for use only with kids 6 months of age and older.
Temporal artery digital thermometers measure heat waves from the temporal artery, a blood vessel that passes just below the skin across the forehead. They can be used for kids of all ages and adults. Temporal artery thermometers made by different manufacturers have slightly different instructions for use, so read the package insert if you use one.
Check the manufacturer's instructions to see what the thermometer is designed for and how it signals that the reading is complete.
Note: Some types of thermometers aren't recommended because they're less accurate. These include plastic strip thermometers, pacifier thermometers, and smartphone temperature apps. Also, don’t use a glass thermometer, as these aren’t safe.
Tips for Taking Temperatures by Age
As any parent knows, taking a squirming child's temperature can be a challenge. The best method will depend on a child's age and how well they can cooperate.