Checking Your Baby's Temperature

When your baby seems unwell or if there is a change in your baby's personality, it is important that you check their temperature. For this reason it is important that you own a thermometer at home. When it comes to choosing the right type of baby thermometer, it may be best to discuss this with your doctor. If your baby is under 3 months old your doctor is likely to suggest a rectal thermometer, but if your child is older than 3 months then the ear thermometer is usually a great choice. There are a few different types for you to choose from, and each of them is used differently. The information below is based on the main types of digital thermometers available on the market today.

Ear Thermometers
This type of baby thermometer is easy to use and provides you with a reading of baby's temperature very quickly. Ear thermometers are comfortable for your baby, and shouldn't cause any discomfort. Most are used by placing the thermometer tip into your baby's ear ensuring it is fully inserted without pushing it in too far, and then pressing the 'start' button once it has been positioned correctly in order to take baby's temperature. The temperature is usually displayed on the thermometer within seconds.

Rectal Thermometers
A rectal thermometer is said to provide the most accurate temperature reading for babies, therefore doctors usually recommend this method, especially for babies under 3 months old. The disadvantage of this method is that some babies don't like it and can make it awkward for you to get a temperature reading. The easiest position for taking baby's temperature rectally is by placing your baby over your lap facing down. Many rectal thermometers have a small tip making it safer to use. If the thermometer has a long tip then make sure not to insert it too far into your baby's rectum as it could cause perforation. Professionals recommend that inserting it in by only half an inch should be good for getting an accurate reading. Hold the thermometer in your baby's rectum until it beeps, which will be when the thermometer has taken a reading.

Underarm Thermometers
The underarm thermometers are not usually as accurate as the other types, but are simple and safe to use. This method is not recommended for babies under 3 months of age, as it is more important that you get an accurate temperature reading when it comes to young babies. Taking your child's temperature with an underarm thermometer is very easy. Make sure your child's armpit is bare and dry before taking their temperature. Hold the thermometer bulb under the armpit while holding your child's arm firmly against the side of their body. This ensures that the bulb is in complete contact with your child's skin. Once the thermometer beeps the reading has been taken and you can remove the thermometer from your child's underarm.

Always keep the following tips in mind:

- Thoroughly clean the thermometer before and after using it.
- Read the manufacturer's instruction manual before using the thermometer, so that you know how to use it safely and correctly.

Guest Writer

Our guest writer is Kerri Bullock, the founder of BabyMonitorsOnline. Visit her online store at