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Measuring a Baby's Temperature

Newborn Babies - Measuring a Baby's Temperature

Where should a baby's temperature be taken?

Today's digital thermometers make taking a baby's temperature simple, with quick results. For best results in babies and toddlers up to 3 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking the temperature rectally, by placing a thermometer in the baby's anus. This method is accurate and gives a quick reading of the baby's internal temperature. Axillary (underarm) temperature measurements may be used for babies ages 3 months and older. Other types of thermometers, such as tympanic (ear) type thermometers, may not be accurate for newborns and require careful positioning to get a precise reading. Skin strips that are pressed on the skin to measure temperature are not recommended for babies. Touching a baby's skin can let you know if he/she is warm or cool, but you cannot measure body temperature simply by touch.

A new type of thermometer, called temporal artery thermometry, is almost as accurate as a rectal thermometer with less discomfort and less disturbing to a newborn.

Preparing the thermometer:

There are different instructions depending upon which type of thermometer you are using to take your baby's temperature. Be sure to follow the instructions for each carefully.

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