When your child is not feeling well, a parent’s first priority is to determine the nature of the problem and make it better. If your child is feeling warm or hot to the touch, taking his or her temperature is an important first step. Should you decide to call the doctor, he or she will likely ask you what the baby’s temperature is and what method you used to determine this. There are several correct ways to take a baby’s temperature.
The oldest way to take the baby’s temperature is rectally. To do this, you should first remove a couple of layers of the baby’s clothing and wait a couple of minutes to allow the temperature to regulate. Apply petroleum jelly such as Vaseline to the bottom inch or so of the thermometer and place the baby on its back with its bottom exposed.
You should hold the baby’s ankles and press its knees towards its stomach, lifting his or her bottom off the ground. Gently insert the thermometer about half an inch into the baby’s rectum and hold him or her very still. The baby may squirm a little, but try to keep him or her fairly still. Holding the thermometer loosely will also help so that the thermometer can move with the baby.
Another way to take a baby’s temperature is under the arm. This way can be tricky and can also be upsetting to a child. For this method, simply place the thermometer under the baby’s arm in the armpit area and press its arm against the side of its body. Most babies will not like to be restrained this way, so if your baby is skittish, this is not the best way to take their temperature. Also, keep in mind that you will need to add a degree to your reading to get a more accurate temperature.
The forehead sticker thermometers are the easiest to use, but are also the least accurate method. There is a lot of room for error with these devices. These thermometers have a history of failing so if you use them, be sure to have a back up thermometer of a different type so you are not left without. Also, children, even smaller babies, can remove these from their foreheads if they are bothered by them. These are, however, handy for taking the baby’s temperature on the go.
Another good emergency type thermometer to keep in the diaper bag is the pacifier thermometer. These work well if your child is used to a pacifier anyways. The downside to this one is that if your child does not take a pacifier, it will do you no good or if your child does take one, but doesn’t like the shape or weight of the thermometer, he or she will not use it either. So if you are planning to buy one of these, be prepared that your baby may not use it.
The most common way recently to take a baby’s temperature is with an ear thermometer. This is the method most doctors now use as well. Ear thermometers are also among the most accurate. To use these, simply insert the end into the ear and press the button.
The nice thing about these is that the read time is only a few seconds. The only bad thing about these thermometers is that if your child has an ear infection and his or her ear hurts, this thermometer will only hurt them, and also, they are a little more expensive than the other types of thermometers. But they are well worth the investment.
Taking your child’s temperature is an important part of finding out what is wrong with him or her. Getting an accurate temperature is also important. Anytime your baby’s temperature increases to 100.4 degrees or higher, please consults a physician. Fevers in babies can have a devastating effect on their developing brains and neurological systems.Taking your child’s temperature