Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.
For infants and toddlers, be sure
to use a rectal thermometer the right way. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a
hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow
the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a
rectal temperature, use another way. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider,
tell him or her which way you used to take your child’s temperature.
Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.
Infant younger than 3 months
Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.
Rectal or forehead
temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider
Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider
Child age 3 to 36 months:
Rectal, forehead, or ear
temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider
Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider
Child of any age:
Repeated temperature of 104°F
(40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider
Fever that lasts more than 24
hours in a child younger than age 2
Fever that lasts for 3 days
in a child 2 years or older