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Methods Of Checking Your Baby’s Temperature

By Subodini Menon

Babies are bound to get sick. Statistics say that during the first year of their life, babies can get sick as often as 4 times. Keeping a track of your baby's temperature is an important part of caring for your baby when he/she is sick. But how do you check someone's temperature?

Thermometer is the instrument that helps us check our temperature. Most adults are used to the glass thermometer that is mercury based. This instrument is placed under the tongue or in the armpit to record the temperature of an adult. But the question is - how do you measure a wriggling swiggling baby's temperature?

Today, there are many models of thermometers that can help in measuring a baby's temperature. Ear or rectal thermometers are the most popular ways of checking a baby's temperature. But they might not work if your baby is too squirmy. Choose a method that suits your baby the best.

Given below are a few methods of measuring your baby's temperature. If your baby is less than 6 months old, a fever might indicate a much serious problem. Be sure to contact your pediatrician at the earliest in such cases.

Rectal Thermometers

Rectal thermometers work the best if your baby is younger than 3 months of age, as a baby older than that may not be co-operative. The rectal thermometer is often digital and offers the most accurate reading.

You must apply some petroleum jelly before inserting the thermometer into your baby's rectum. The insertion should not be beyond 1 inch. Hold it as steady as possible until the reading stabilizes. The instrument often makes a beep sound to indicate that it has finished measuring the temperature.

Under Arm Measurement Using A Digital Thermometer

A digital thermometer can be used to measure the temperature of an older baby. It provides an almost accurate measure of the temperature.

The instrument should be placed far into the baby's armpit. Make sure that it is in close contact to the skin. It should not be uncomfortable to the baby. Hold it steady until the thermometer indicates a steady value.

Oral Thermometer

The traditional oral thermometer was made of glass and was mercury based. Today, digital ones are becoming more and more popular. It can be used for children who are older than 4 years of age. Younger children cannot hold the thermometer in the mouth for as long as it is needed. They can also chew down on the thermometer, which can be especially harmful if you are using the traditional thermometer.

Just place the thermometer under the child's tongue and wait for the reading to stabilize. If you're using the traditional glass thermometer, hold it in place for one minute.

Ear Thermometer

This is another method that is popular for measuring a baby's temperature. it may not be useful in babies younger than 3 months, as their ear canals are not large enough to receive the thermometer.

Place the thermometer in the ear canal and wait for the reading to stabilize. Make sure to cover the tip of the thermometer with a disposable cover to prevent infections.

Forehead Thermometer

A forehead thermometer is a strip that indicates the temperature. It can be very inaccurate and may require a secondary check with another instrument to be sure. It only tells you the temperature of the skin and not of your baby's body. But it can serve as a good guide that can give you a rough idea of the temperature and can tell you when it is time to take your baby to the doctor.

Just place the strip flat on your baby's forehead and wait until it tells you a temperature.

Pacifier Thermometer

These thermometers are made to be used like a pacifier and be suckled in your baby's mouth. The readings given by these pacifier thermometers can be largely inaccurate. Most doctors do not recommend their use. But it can serve as a preliminary guide that can tell you about your child's fever.

Let your baby suckle on the pacifier thermometer for at least 3 minutes until the reading is given. Make sure that your baby's mouth remains closed the whole time.

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