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The Best Way to Measure Your Child's Temperature

Most parents have experienced the fact of getting up in the middle of the night to find their kids hot, flushed and sweaty. Your child’s forehead is warm and he is irritable. You suspect fever.

Usually fever occurs when the body is reacting to an underlying problem as infection, overheating or immunizations. The human body temperature is around 37° Celsius. The best way to tell that your baby has fever is to measure his temperature. You might need a thermometer which you can find in any drugstore.

How many types of thermometer can I find?

  • Glass thermometer: It is an old system, accurate, used rectally, orally and under arm. It is not recommended especially with kids due to the danger of breaking and leakage of mercury.

  • Digital thermometer: Used for rectal, oral and under arm methods. They are the most accurate and easy to read. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be read between ten seconds to two minutes.

  • Ear Digital thermometer: More expensive and used only in the ear. Not recommended for babies under 3 months.

  • Plastic strips thermometer: Strips that you apply on your child forehead. They are not accurate.

  • Pacifier thermometer: They are inaccurate since they require from the child to keep the pacifier in his mouth without moving for several minutes.

Whatever is the method you use, you should know that body temperature changes between morning and evening and after a bath.

How do I check my child temperature?

Usually doctors ask about the rectal temperature. It is the most accurate. To check your baby’s temperature follow the below steps:

  • Prepare the thermometer. Clean the end with little of soap and warm water or with an alcohol pad. Coat it with KY Jelly.

  • Put your child on your lap or on a flat surface belly down. You can keep him on his back and bend his legs towards his chest.

  • Insert the thermometer ½ inch to 1 inch in the anal opening. Usually digital thermometers have a designated tip to be inserted.

  • Keep your hand on the thermometer without pushing it inside. Hold your child bottom with your hand.

  • Talk to your child and try to calm him if he is irritated.

  • Wait until you hear the thermometer beeps. Remove it and read the results.

  • If you are using the glass thermometer, you will have to wait for a minute in rectal method and 3 minutes for under arm method before reading the results.

  • Clean the thermometer, close it and wash your hands with soap and water.

For oral method, you will have to wait 30 minutes after your child had eaten or drunk. It is not recommended for kids under 5 years. Put the thermometer under your child tongue and ask him to close his mouth gently. Be careful that your child won’t bite the thermometer. Ask him to relax and breathe from his nose calmly.

For under arm method, remove your child shirt, place the thermometer under his armpit and fold your child arm across his chest. Wait for the beep before reading the results.

For ear method, make sure that your child was not sleeping on his ear. Hold his ear straight, insert the thermometer and keep it still until you hear the beeps. Throw the plastic tip and close the thermometer.

It is not necessary to take your baby temperature frequently. You may measure it in the morning or at night before his bath. In case of sickness, you will have to measure it when you feel your child is hot and half an hour after administering a medicine.

Call your doctor in case your child temperature is higher than 38º. Remove his clothes, put him a light pajama, give him lots of fluids and keep his room temperature around 25°. If the temperature is higher than 39º, put cold pads on his forehead or give him a bath. Make sure to cover him quickly after his bath because he may start shivering. Do not give him cold bath.

Don’t panic, measuring temperature can be unusual for starters but it is the best way to measure your baby’s temperature and to take action in case of sickness.

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