The good news? Most are harmless, simply serving as a sign that their tiny body is fighting hard to get rid of an icky virus or infection.
Still, it's natural to be concerned and reach for the thermometer at the first sign of warmth for measuring infant temperature.
The only issue? Unless you use it the right way, these tools can render an incorrect reading that could cause more worry than necessary.
That's why we're here.
Today, we're sharing how to take infant temperature. We'll explain the different methods to use at different ages, as well as ways to find quick relief when you need it most.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started.
Understanding the Different Types of Thermometers
Buying a baby thermometer should be simple, right?
It doesn't quite seem that way when you're staring at a bevy of options at the store. Which one should you choose and is one type preferred over another? Let's review your choices.
Stick-On Temperature Indicators
The reality is that your sick and squirmy infant is unlikely to tolerate most thermometers. They're invasive, uncomfortable and can be intimidating.
That's where our Fevermates stick-on temperature indicators come in handy!
Available in a range of shapes and designs, these fever indicators are so fun and colourful that your child won't mind wearing them during the day or overnight. Once applied, they can monitor her temperature for up to 48 hours. Latex-free and hypoallergenic, they're an easy, no-fuss way to keep an eye on her fever all day and night.
A digital thermometer can provide a quick and accurate temperature reading. They are widely available at any drugstore in a range of shapes and sizes. Take the time to review how each kind works, including how you can know when the reading is complete.
Temporal Artery Thermometers
If your child is three months old or younger, you can use a temporal artery thermometer to take his temperature. You'll run this tool over his forehead, and it works by measuring the heat waves on each side.
Electronic Ear Thermometers (Tympanic)
Ear thermometers are permissible for children six months old or older. You'll stick the tip of this thermometer into your child's ear, and it works by measuring the heat waves emitted from his eardrum.
How to Take Infant Temperature by Age
There are certain temperature-taking methods that are only appropriate for children of a certain age. That means it's up to parents to research these age-specific requirements and follow the procedures accordingly.
The only problem? When you're woken up in the middle of the night by a hot, fussy baby, you shouldn't have to call the doctor or hop online to find the best way to take her temperature. Managing a fever is difficult enough without adding guesswork into the equation.
Taking that into account, we designed Fevermates to work on children of all ages, including grown adults! While you'll need to monitor use for children 36 months or younger, they're still safe to apply, even at that age. That's why it's smart to go ahead and invest in a large pack, so you always have them on hand when an illness strikes.
Using a digital thermometer? Let's review the correct approach to use based on your baby's age.
Three Months Old or Younger
You can get an accurate reading in children this young by using a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature. While the thought of this might make you cringe, the process is fairly straightforward.
First, wash the thermometer with warm, soapy water. Next, moisten the tip with a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly.
Then, you can either place your child belly-down across your lap or belly-up on a flat, firm surface. Using one hand to steady your child, place the thermometer about .5 inches to one inch into his rectal opening, making sure the tip is fully inserted.
This position is naturally uncomfortable, so you may need to soothe your child as you hold the thermometer in place. When it signals that the reading is complete, take note of the number and carefully remove it.
Six Months to Four Years
You can still take a rectal temperature in this age range, using a digital thermometer. Once they're six months old, you can also use a tympanic thermometer in their ears, though you can expect much squirming!
At six months old, you can also take an axillary (armpit) temperature using a digital thermometer. While this method is OK for this age range, it's not always as accurate as a rectal or tympanic reading.
When taking an axillary temperature, first remove your child's shirt. Then, place the thermometer under his armpit. His arm should fold across his chest, rather than hang down. Once the reading is finished, open his arm and remove the thermometer.
Four Years and Older
Once your child reaches his fourth birthday, you're no longer limited to rectal readings using your digital thermometer. Now, you can buy a new one and begin taking his temperature orally.
If you go this route, wait 20 to 30 minutes after he's stopped eating or drinking. Then, make sure there is no food, gum or candy in his mouth as you place the tip of the thermometer under his tongue.
Tell him to close his lips around it (but don't bite it) and keep them shut. He shouldn't talk while the thermometer is reading his temperature, and he should only breathe through his nose.
Keep in mind that while this method might be more convenient, it's only accurate if your child will cooperate and leave the thermometer in the correct position for the duration of the reading. If your child is coughing or has a stuffy nose, it can be difficult for them to keep their mouths shut long enough.
If this is the case, you can try any other method, including tympanic, rectal, temporal, or axillary.
What is a Normal Temperature?
By definition, a "normal" temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, that doesn't mean you need to panic if your reading comes back a little higher. In fact, many argue that this 150-year old standard has more flexibility than originally believed.
There are myriad outside factors that can influence the number you see.
For instance, their little bodies will naturally feel a little warmer in the summertime if they've been spending a lot of time outdoors. The same applies if they're buried under layers of thermal pyjamas and bedding in the wintertime! Even a bath can influence their temperature, as can the time of day. Your child is inclined to be a little warmer in the afternoon than first thing in the morning.
For that reason, never take your child's temperature right after they get out of the bath or shower. You should also wait a while if they've been bundled tightly or have been sweating outdoors!
Fever Relief, Fast
Regardless of the temperature-taking method you choose, it can be upsetting to see that number rise.
In addition to using over-the-counter fever-reducing medications, you can find quick relief by using our FeverMates Cooling Patches. These adhere easily to your child's forehead and deliver cool, soothing relief for up to eight hours!
The hydrogel in each patch pulls heat away from his forehead and will remain effective for the duration of use. This makes it a smart alternative to a cool washcloth, which quickly warms up to room temperature.
Tackle a Temperature the Smart Way
Fevers don't care if your child has school, a playdate or another important event to attend. They can strike at any time, leaving first-time parents feeling helpless.
This is why it helps to be as prepared as possible. Instead of relying on a digital thermometer that your child might not tolerate, keep our FeverMates temperature indicators on hand for a quick and easy reading you can trust. Then, apply a cooling patch to help your little one stay comfortable as you seek treatment.
Interested in learning more about how our products work? Have any questions? Feel free to contact us today for the answers you need.