Children's Health Association
Home Temperature Fever Cold Contacts

 

 

 

 

 

How to Take Your Child's Temperature

You are often worried about what to do about your child's fever. This information is provided to you to help you understand fever and how to take the temperature of your child.

What is a normal temperature?

How to Take my Child's Temperature?

What is the Best Method?

Temperature-taking tips

What is a normal temperature?

Now that you have taken the temperature, check the following chart to see whether your child has a fever. The normal temperature range varies, depending on what method you use.

Measurement method

Normal temperature range

Rectum

36.6°C to 38°C (97.9°F to 100.4°F)

Mouth

35.5°C to 37.5°C (95.9°F to 99.5°F)

Armpit

34.7°C to 37.3°C (94.5°F to 99.1°F)

Ear

35.8°C to 38°C (96.4°F to 100.4°F)

How to Take my Child's Temperature? Top

There are several ways to take your child's temperature:

•  Rectal method (by the rectum or bum)

•  oral method (by the mouth)

•  Axillary method (under the armpit)

•  tympanic method (in the ear)

What is the Best Method? Top

The following chart will help you decide which method to use.

Age   
Recommended technique
Birth to 2 years    

1st choice: Rectum (for an accurate reading)

2nd choice: Armpit         

Between 2 and 5 years   

1st choice: Rectum (for an accurate reading)

2nd choice: Ear, armpit

Older than 5 years      

1st choice: Mouth (for an accurate reading)

2nd choice: Ear, armpit

Temperature-taking tips Top

  • Do not use a mercury thermometer. If it breaks, you might be exposed to this toxic substance.  

  • Do not use an oral thermometer to take a rectal temperature, or a rectal thermometer for oral temperature taking.

  • A digital thermometer can be used for both rectal and oral temperature taking. It is made of unbreakable plastic, is easy to read and measures temperature quickly.

  • Ear thermometers are expensive and can be complicated to use.

  • Fever strips are not recommended because they do not give accurate readings.

©2006. Z.Ragbi. Al Akhawayn University

Updated on 11/09/2006