Taking Your Child’s Temperature

  1. Always take your child’s temperature when your child seems ill.
  2. One may take the temperature axillary (under the arm) if the child is less than 8 years old, orally if older than 8 years old and rectally for infants less than 6 months.  To take an axillary temperature, place glass thermometer in armpit and place arm at side, leave for 3 minutes then read.  To take a rectal temperature, place lubricant on base of thermometer and insert 1/3 of the thermometer into the rectum, leave for 3 minutes. If using a digital thermometer just wait until it beeps instead of waiting 3 minutes.   A Temporal Artery Thermometer temperature can be taken by moving the thermometer across the side of the forehead and can be used in babies/children over 6 month of age.  The temperature reading is equivalent to a rectal temperature.  A fever is > 100 degrees axillary and  >101 orally and  >100.5 rectally.
  3. When your child is ill he /she may not eat solids.  Do not force your child to eat.  It is important that he/she drinks fluids as much as can be tolerated.  Small amounts of liquids frequently are less likely to cause nausea or vomiting.  Using a straw to drink is often a treat, and encourages sipping.  Experiment with different liquids and different flavors until you find one that the child will take and offer this to him/her frequently. The child will begin to eat solids again as he/she feels better.
  4. If a child is given an antibiotic; please, finish the course of treatment even if the child feels better. Symptoms will improve long before the infection is eradicated.