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The 5 Most Common Ways To Take Your Child’s Temperature

May 19, 2017

The right kids thermometer is the one that your child will let you use on them. Having their temperature taken is something that many children consider a real annoyance. But when cold and flu symptoms or other illnesses seem to be taking hold, monitoring temperature closely can help you decide when to give medicine and when to take your child to the hospital.

Not that long ago, there was no such thing as a kid-friendly thermometer. An oral or rectal mercury tube thermometer was all that was available to check for a fever in any member of the family. Now, you have device and method choices.

Here are 5 ways you can successfully take your child’s temperature along with some advice on how well each method works:

1. Rectally. To take a child’s temperature rectally, you must lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly, place the child on their back and insert the device about a half-inch into the rectum without forcing if you encounter resistance. This is the recommended method for babies under 3 months. No matter how good your kids thermometer is, however, no child will like having their temperature taken rectally once they’re old enough to express discomfort or embarrassment. Rectal thermometers, however, are known for accuracy.

2. Orally. Many people grew up with oral mercury thermometers that are placed under your tongue for about a minute. Today’s digital oral thermometers can give readings in seconds. But it can be difficult to get a child to keep their mouth closed tightly around the thermometer for even a second or two. Plus, eating or drinking within 15 minutes of taking a temperature reading orally can cause a false reading. Still, orally taking a child’s temperature is easier than doing it rectally and gives accurate results if taken correctly.

3. Under the armpit. Taking the axillary temperature of your child is easy with the right kids thermometer. You must make sure that the device touches only skin and not clothes, however. The device must be held tightly in the right location for the required time, and the child must stay still so that the thermometer can remain in the right place for an accurate reading.

4. In ear. To get a reading with an infrared ear thermometer, you simply insert your chosen kids thermometer into the ear canal and wait the required time. With the MOBI Prime Ear and Forehead Thermometer, an accurate reading is available in one second. Just remember to hold the device tightly in place. You get very quick results, and the results are accurate as long as you put the thermometer in the right place. Some children find this method slightly uncomfortable, however. Expect readings to vary slightly each time you take the temperature and to vary from one ear to the other.

5. On the forehead. Getting a temporal artery reading from the forehead is a completely noninvasive way to take a child’s temperature with a simple swipe. You must make sure you use the device in the right spot for the most accurate reading. And you must expect some variation from one reading to the next. But there is no quicker, less invasive or easier way to take a child’s temperature.

Perhaps the most useful device to have is a kids thermometer that allows you to take a body temperature reading in more than one way. An ear and forehead thermometer, for example, can give you accurate readings in a second using either method, and some models can even store previous readings for comparison.

When your child’s health is in question, you need a kids thermometer that they will accept and that provides accurate results. It makes sense to buy one, test it out when your child is healthy and have it on hand so it will be ready to use when you need it.