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Best Way to Take Your Baby's Body Temperature

Updated on January 31, 2015

Best Way to Get Your Baby's Temperature

The body temperature of baby speaks a lot about their health. We can't just rely on the palm of our hands to get their body temperature. Some parents use the palm of their hands to do this, they touched the forehead of their babies and they can tell if one has a fever or not. We know that this is not reliable because body temperature is affected by some factors like environmental temperature and time of the day etc.The best way to get bay's temperature is through the use of clinical digital thermometer in the rectum.

The baby's body temperature reading is one way to gauge if the baby is well, that is why body thermometer is one of the must have for parents. It is advisable to have it not only for the baby, but for the entire family. You can choose to have a body thermometer for the whole family and the baby as long as after and before each use, you should clean it properly.I have one for my baby (use in rectum) and an extra one for the rest of the family to use.

There are five known ways in getting body temperature :

  • rectal (baby's bottom -- anus)
  • oral -- behind the tongue
  • axillary -- like armpit
  • ear thermometer - tymphanic thermometer
  • digital scanner to measure body temperature in the forehead (through a forehead artery)

So how can you tell if someone has fever?

Normal body temperature varies but these are some guidelines according to American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP)

  1. Rectal, ear and artery temperature -- 38.0 C or higher -- (100.4 F)
  2. Oral temperature -- 37.8 C or higher (100 F)
  3. Axillary (Armpit) -- 37.2° C or higher (99 F)

Rectal thermometer is recommended for babies

Child Age Appropriate Ways of Getting Baby's Body Temperature

  1. According to AAP from until three months, rectal thermometer is recommended
  2. Three months to five years you can use both, rectal and axillary
  3. For children four to five years old you can use the three ways -- rectal, oral, axillary

Best Way to Get Your Baby's Temperature

Best Way to Get Baby's Temperature : Steps

Taking baby's body temperature is easy as long as you know the basics of it. The pediatrician of my baby always ask me about my baby's body temperature when I call her about my baby for possible check up.

Rectal : Lie the baby in your lap face up, put the two feet up and then insert the digital thermometer in the baby's anus, up to one inch, hold it until you hear the sound of beeeep then it is done, read it. Be sure to clean the digital thermometer with warm soapy water or alcohol before and after using it. As I have said according to researchers, there are various ways in getting body temperature but the best way to get baby's temperature is through the rectal means and by a digital thermometer, so we should know this way by heart.

Other Means to Get Childrens Temperature

Oral : Let the child stay still or sit down, wash and clean the thermometer first by warm water with soap or with alcohol, then put the digital thermometer tip behind the child's tongue, then read it after the beep sound.

Axillary : let the child raise his/her armpit, put the digital thermometer in her armpit (against her/his chest). Read it after the beeeep sound. Clean it before and after use.

Important Notes on How Best Way to Get Your Baby's Temperature : According to American Academy of Pediatrics :

  1. Rectal way in getting baby's body temperature is recommended as it is less susceptible to other factors which may affect the body's temperature.
  2. A rectal or oral temperature is better than axillary as it is more accurate in getting the core temperature.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics advice parents to remove all thermometers with mercury to avoid possible mercury poisoning when the thermometer breaks.
  4. According to APA -- the ears (Tympanic Membrane) temperatures "are not reliable before 6 months of age"
  5. Always clean the thermometer before and after use.
  6. Get the temperature of the children after fifteen minutes after eating when you use oral ways of getting temperature.


The best way to get your baby's temperature is through a digital thermometer and through rectal means. Getting the baby's body temperature is easy as long as we follow some safety measures like cleaning the digital thermometer before and after use with warm soap water or alcohol. The easy steps in getting baby's body temperature is discussed above. Since body thermometer is a must have for parents so as to monitor the baby's temperature, there are some facts which are useful and we need to understand it for the better care of our babies. Pediatrician always asked baby's body's temperature for routine checks on the baby's overall wellness, so it is a must that we need to know how to get our baby's temperature by heart.

There are various ways to get body temperature and the rectal way is the best for babies as it can approximate well the body temperature - plus the use of digital is recommended. As they grow older, we can use the oral and axillary methods plus some other ways mentioned above. The body temperature is affected by several factors like the environment and person's activity.

Note :

The healthcare provider of your baby is the best person to give advice on the overall health of your baby. When in doubt always ask his/her help.


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