by Heidi Hauser Green
February 26, 2013
When your child feels warm to the touch and seems unwell to you, you will want to find out how high her temperature is. While fever alone is generally not dangerous, it is an indicator that your body is fighting some sort of disease or infection. In order for you and your child’s health care provider to determine the best course of treatment, you’ll want an accurate read of your baby’s temperature. There are a number of ways to measure one’s temperature: via the rectum (rectally), under the tongue (orally), under the arm (axillary), in the ear (tympanic), or at the temple (side of the head).
For babies, who have a higher base temperature than older children and adults, it’s important to get as close to an accurate read as possible, especially since some infant temperatures will need to be evaluated at a doctor’s office. Pediatricians recommend that parents assess a baby’s temperature rectally—the best method for accuracy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using a digital thermometer rather than a mercury thermometer, which would pose of a risk of mercury exposure and poisoning if broken.
To take your baby’s temperature rectally, here’s what you do:
Just as with adults, there is no single temperature that is right for every baby at every minute. Your baby’s normal temperature may range from about 97°F (36°C) to about 100°F (37.7°C) without cause for concern. Most doctors agree that a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in babies younger than 2 months of age merits a visit to the pediatrician.
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