Digital thermometers, how to take a baby’s temperature
How to take a baby’s temperature?
Before we can get to know how to take a baby’s temperature, we must know the type of thermometers and the differences between.
A normal temperature in children is about 36.4C (97.5F), but this does differ slightly from child to child. A fever is usually considered to be a temperature of over 37.5C (99.5F).
You may be concerned that your baby has a fever if they:
- feel hotter than usual to the touch – on their forehead, back or stomach
- feel sweaty or clammy
- have flushed cheeks
If you’re concerned that your baby has a raised temperature, the best first step is to check their temperature with a thermometer. This will help you work out whether you need to call a doctor. If you speak to a doctor or nurse on the phone, it will help them make a decision about the type of medical attention your child needs.
Ideally, to get a fast and accurate reading of your child’s temperature, you need a digital thermometer or a non-contact thermometer. These are available from pharmacies and most large supermarkets.
How to take a baby’s temperature with a digital thermometer?
To find out your child’s temperature, hold them comfortably on your knee and place the digital thermometer under their armpit (always use the thermometer under the armpit with children under five). Gently but firmly hold their arm against their body to keep the thermometer in place for the time stated in the manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 15 seconds).
Some digital thermometers beep when they are ready. The display on the thermometer will then show you your child’s temperature. We consider this to be the best thermometer type to use to get an accurate temperature reading.
Other types of thermometers
Other types of thermometer are available, but may not be as effective as a digital thermometer for taking a baby or small child’s temperature.
- Non-Contact thermometers – measure the energy emitted by an object, allowing measurement of temperature without contact. Easier to use than the armpit ones, but you need a good quality thermometer to get an accurate temperature reading.
- Ear thermometers – allow you to take a temperature reading from the ear. These thermometers are quick but expensive, and can give misleading readings, especially in babies, if they’re not correctly placed in the ear. Otherwise they are accurate and reliable.
- Strip thermometers – are held on to the child’s forehead, and are not an accurate way of taking a temperature. They show the temperature of the skin, rather than the body.
- Mercury-in-glass thermometers– should not be used. They are no longer used in hospitals and not available to buy. They can break, releasing small shards of glass and highly poisonous mercury. If your child is exposed to mercury, get medical advice immediately. However there are similar in-glass thermometers with other substance inside that are safe to use.
How can I make sure the temperature reading is accurate?
If you use a digital thermometer under your child’s armpit, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, you should get an accurate reading.
However, there are a few circumstances that could slightly alter the reading, for example if your child has been:
- wrapped up tightly in a blanket
- in a very warm room
- very active
cuddling a hot water bottle
- wearing a lot of clothes
- having a bath
If this is the case, allow them to cool down for a few minutes (without allowing them to become cold or shivery), and take their temperature again to see if there has been any change.
Considering the above, we recommend this digital & non-contact thermometers:
1. iProven DMT-489
2. Dr. Madre Non-Contact Infrared thermometer
3. Gear District’s FDA Approved Digital Clinical Thermometer
4. OCCObaby Clinical Forehead Baby Thermometer – 2017
Hope that all of the above clarifies the complicate task of how to take a baby’s temperature, if not, please leave a comment.