Taking a Child’s Temperature

A child’s temperature is often taken in the armpit (axillary) or in the child’s mouth (orally), if the child is old enough to know not to bite down on the thermometer.

How to take axillary temperatures

  • Place the tip of the thermometer in a dry armpit.
  • Close the armpit by holding the elbow against the chest for four or five minutes, or until the thermometer beeps.
  • After four or five minutes, or when the thermometer beeps, take the thermometer out and read the temperature.
  • Fever is a temperature over 100.4 F.

How to take oral temperatures

  • Be sure the child has not had a cold or hot drink in the last 30 minutes.
  • Place the tip of the thermometer under one side of the tongue and toward the back.
  • Have the child hold the thermometer in place with his lips and fingers. He should breathe through his nose, keeping mouth closed.
  • Leave the thermometer in the mouth for three minutes, or until the thermometer beeps
  • After three minutes, or when thermometer beeps, take the thermometer out and read the temperature.
  • Fever is a temperature over 100.4 F.

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