How to take your baby's temperature

How to take your baby's temperature

There are various ways to take your baby’s temperature if you suspect she has a fever.

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Temperature strips

These are easy to use as they are placed on the baby’s forehead. They give you a rough guide as to whether your baby is feverish, but they are not as accurate as an ear thermometer or standard clinical thermometer. Trust your instincts, you will know if your baby is hot and unwell.

Digital thermometer

You can also use a digital thermometer which rests just inside your baby’s ear. It gives a very accurate reading of body temperature, but is more expensive than a traditional thermometer. If using this type of thermometer in your child’s ear, the normal temperature is between 36.4°C and 36.8°C (97.5°F to 98.2°F).

Traditional clinical thermometer

If you are using a traditional clinical thermometer:

  • Shake down the fluid in the thermometer.
  • Put the bulb of the thermometer under your baby’s armpit and hold her arm close to her body for at least five minutes.

A temperature of about 36.4°C is normal under the arm.
A mild rise in temperature is about 37.8°C (100°F). See a doctor if your baby’s temperature remains at this level for more than one day or if it rises to 38.6°C (101.4°F).

Thermometer warning

‘Never place a thermometer in your baby’s mouth,’ says Dr Andrew Lyon, Bounty’s child health expert, ‘as it could be very dangerous. 
You may also come across advice on how to take your baby’s temperature in the rectum (back passage). Again, NEVER do this; it could hurt your baby.’

Room temperature

The ideal room temperature for your baby is between 16-20°C. Below this temperature he will be too cold and above it, he will be too hot. Room thermometers are available post-free for £2.75 from the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths on  0207 233 2090 .

Always contact your doctor if your baby has other signs of illness as well as a temperature.