Taking your baby’ temperature is very important when you think that your baby may be ill. Most pediatricians will ask for your baby’s temperature when you call them to report your baby’s condition. Although a rectal temperature provides the most accurate approximation to the core temperature, rectal temperatures are not routinely recommended due to the risk of injury to the rectum.
Currently, taking an axillary (under the arm) temperature is preferred since the risk of injury is eliminated and temperature is easy to obtain. Ear thermometers (called tympanic thermometers) are not very accurate and should not be used for babies under 1 year of age.
Your baby’s temperature can vary throughout the day. Normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C), but this can vary from 97.6°-99.3°F (36.4°-37.4°C). It is very important to call your pediatrician if your baby is younger than 3 months and has a temperature higher than 100.4°F rectally or 99.4°F under the arm. Babies at this age are susceptible to serious infections and any fever must be evaluated. Babies younger than three months of age with a fever of 100.4°F or more will require an admission to the hospital to rule out serious infection and to provide for continuous monitoring of condition.
Watch our Taking Baby's Temperature video for step-by-step instructions on how to take your baby's temperature both rectally and under the arm. Learn more about fevers in babies here.
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