How do you know if your child has a fever? Feeling your child may give you an idea but is not a good way to determine how high the fever is. If you really want to know if your child has a fever, be sure to use a thermometer.
How does a parent know what type of thermometer to use?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only using a rectal thermometer for any child under the age of 3. Over the age of 3, you can use an oral thermometer or an axillary thermometer under your child’s arm. Be sure to only use a digital thermometer. If you have one of those old mercury thermometers laying around the house, you might want to toss it because if it breaks, the mercury could be toxic to you and your child.
How reliable are temperatures taken under the arm?
Axillary thermometers are the least-reliable ways to take your child’s temperature. They should never be used on a child under the age of 3 months. With older children you can use axillary thermometers, but just remember they are not as accurate.
Are ear and temporal artery thermometers accurate?
A rectal temperature is always the most accurate. Ear thermometers can be used, but they can give you low results. If the thermometer is not pointed right at the eardrum or if there is wax blocking the ear canal, it could be a problem. Temporal artery infant thermometers may give you better results.
Remember, use only rectal thermometers in infants under 3 months of age. It’s important to know the accurate temperature of a fever at this age. If they have a fever over 100.4, be sure to contact your pediatrician immediately.