Tips for Taking Your Child’s Temperature

Every parent has experienced their little one feeling feverish and sick. Fevers can often be the body’s way of fighting off infections, so it can be a good thing. However, it is natural for a parent to worry about their child when they feel warm.

Tips for Taking Your Child's Temperature

It is important to take a child’s temperature to get a more accurate idea of how serious the illness may be.

The following are a few tips on how to take your child’s temperature:

  • Always use a digital thermometer. Mercury thermometers have been known to be dangerous due to the mercury.
  • Rectal thermometers are more accurate in taking temperatures. You can use an oral thermometer in a child older than 3 months unless otherwise directed by the doctor.
  • Make sure you keep the rectal and oral thermometers labeled to be sure you do not accidentally mix them up.
  • Always wash the thermometer before use. Clean it in lukewarm water with soap. Rinse well with cool water. After use, clean it with rubbing alcohol and wash with cool, soapy water.
  • Be sure not to take your child’s temperature after a bath, for that will influence the reading. Also, do not bundle up your child too tightly while taking their temperature.
  • If the temperature is taken orally, be sure to wait at least 20 minutes after your child has eaten or drank anything. This can also influence the reading.
  • When taking the temperature rectally, lay your child on their on belly across your lap. Make sure you cover the tip of the thermometer with Vaseline. Do not force the thermometer if you feel any resistance. Also, be sure to not let go of the thermometer.
  • When taking the temperature orally, place the thermometer under the tongue. Try to make sure your child keeps his or her mouth closed around the thermometer.
  • Never leave a child unattended while using a thermometer.
  • If your child’s temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to call the doctor to see if your child requires medication.
  • Make sure you follow directions on using the chosen thermometer. Be sure to wait the right amount of beeps before taking out the thermometer and recording the temperature.
  • In addition to taking your child’s temperature, note any other symptoms the child may be having. This will help the doctor make a more accurate diagnosis.

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