How To Take Your Baby’s Temperature

How To Take Your Baby's Temperature


When a person suffers from an infectious process, its body starts fighting infection independently even before this person takes medication. In order to fight infection successfully, the immune system has to start many chemical processes that result in formation of antibodies. Antibodies prevent bacterial and viral reproduction, and this is what causes body fever. How do you know that your baby is ill and suffers from fever, when it’s not talking yet? Nowadays it’s possible to measure newborn baby’s temperature in different ways and with the help of different thermometers.

You should measure baby’s body temperature every day until a baby turns 6 months old. Of course, it’s utopic and no one would do this every day, but still you should know about that. Baby’s immune system is weak yet and it thermoregulation system still isn’t fully formed. That’s why babies up to 6 months overheat easily because of active game or even because of crying and suffer from undercooling because of the draughts.

Normal temperature for newborn babies is the one in a range from 36.3 to 37.3 ºC. If a baby has a temperature of 37 ºC for a long time, but all the symptoms of disease are absent, a baby sleeps peacefully and eats well, you shouldn’t worry. In a few months its thermoregulation processes will work properly and the body temperature will reach its normal value. (Read article: Normal body temperature of an infant).

If a baby has low temperature up to 35 ºC, this can be caused by antipyretics you’ve given to a baby earlier. If you did give baby antipyretics, a temperature can remain low for some time after this.

Types Of Thermometers

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Mercury Thermometer

Mercury thermometer is one of the most conservative and accurate devices for measuring baby’s temperature. Its main advantage is its accuracy: an error in measurements can reach 0.1 ºC maximum. However, mercury thermometer has a few flaws:

  • First, a time of measurement (7 minutes in the armpit and 5 minutes in the rectum) is too big for a restless toddler;
  • Second, this thermometer isn’t safe as it contains mercury. It is also fragile and requires very careful handling, which can be hard if you measure temperature of an infant.


A more convenient and modern device for temperature measuring. It allows you to measure temperature safely. Electronic thermometer is easy to use even if you’re measuring temperature of an infant: you can put it in baby’s mouth, in his armpit or in the rectum (however, it works less accurately in the armpit). This thermometer is very convenient to use:

  • A time of measurement is 3 minutes approximately;
  • A thermometer gives a signal when a measurement is finished;
  • Some thermometers are made in a form of a dummy. Their time of measurement is up to 4 minutes. It is suitable only for children who take dummies and will be useful only as long as your baby takes it.

However, an electronic thermometer can have bigger errors in measurements: an error can reach 1 ºC. Moreover, you have to replace the battery in this thermometer from time to time.


Infrared thermometer is a recent invention. It can be non-invasive and auricular. The first measures the temperature instantly when put close to the skin. It isn’t very accurate, but is convenient to control the temperature in dynamics or to measure the temperature of a dairy blend.

Auricular thermometer is very convenient for measuring the temperature in infants: it takes 5 seconds, when a baby is sleeping. These thermometers have one big flaw, though: their price is very high.


It is made in a form of a strip that has to be applied to the skin or put under the tongue. The time of measurement is 60 second. This thermometer isn’t very accurate, but it can be convenient when you’re on a trip.

How To Measure Temperature

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In An Armpit

If a baby can sit already, let it sit on your knees and be sure that the back of its head is turned to you. Put a thermometer in its armpit and hold baby’s hard until the measurement is done.

If a baby doesn’t sit yet, put it on its back, raise its arm, put a thermometer in the armpit (be sure it fits tightly), then lower the arm and wait for a signal or leave the thermometer for 7 minutes.

Rectal (In The Rectum)

Put a baby on its back, take its hands by ankles with one hand and lift them, slightly bending. Put some baby cream or vaseline at a tip of a thermometer. Carefully insert the thermometer 2 cm into rectum and remove it right after the measurement is done. A thermometer has to be disinfected after each use.

In The Ear

Take an auricular thermometer, pull baby’s earlobe backwards and slightly upward. Then place a thermometer probe into the straightened ear canal. Carefully remove a thermometer after the measurement is done: to do so, you have to pull baby’s earlobe the similar way.

If a baby is too small, the only way to measure its temperature orally is to use thermometer made in a form of a dummy. Other thermometers aren’t recommended: moreover, it’s unlikely that you will be able to use them for this purpose.

ATTENTION! You have to measure baby’s temperature only when it’s calm. If a baby moved actively some time ago, cried or you swaddled him, wait a little before measuring.

If you are measuring infant’s temperature during feeding process, you have to remember that it raises slightly under these circumstances.

It is important to remember that temperature has a tendency to raise in the evening a little. That’s why if baby’s temperature was normal in the morning, but you still think it might be ill, you have to continue measuring its temperature in the afternoon and in the evening.

Normal Temperature Range

  • In the armpit: 36.3 – 37.3 ºC.
  • In the mouth: 37.1 ºC.
  • In the rectum: 37.6 – 38 ºC.

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