Your child is going to get sick and you are going to panic. This is a fundamental of parenting and there’s no escaping it.

Managing your child’s illness is important and knowing how to gauge its seriousness is an art as much as it is a science. Every new parent will tell you at least one story if not more, of the panic rush to the emergency room. For any new father, taking your child’s temperature for the first time requires understanding the equipment, the method and the accuracy of both.

You can take your child’s Rectal, Oral, Armpit, Ear or Temporal Artery temperature.

It is no longer recommended to use the glass mercury thermometer as they pose a risk of breaking and the mercury vapor being inhaled. 

You will need to consider purchasing either a:

Digital ThermometerAllow for Rectal, Mouth or Armpit (least accurate reading) temperature. Best from birth to three months or after the age of four when the child can hold their own.

Digital Ear ThermometerBaby should be at least 6 months old. Ear wax can interfere with the accuracy of temperature taken.

Temporal Artery Thermometer Best if used after the age of three months. Can be used even when a child is asleep.

Always Remember to:

1. Read the instructions that accompany the thermometer.

2. Clean its tip thoroughly, both before and after use.

3. Do not use the same thermometer to take rectal and oral temperatures.

4. Do not leave your child unattended while taking their temperature.

5. Take the guidance of a medical care professional or childcare expert the first time you are attempting the rectal method of taking your child’s temperature.

6. Read a fever or high-temperature guide. An example is available on the NHS website.

7. When informing your doctor of your child’s temperature, in addition to the reading, also let them know how you took the temperature and with which type of thermometer.

Our guide is meant to outline the need to know facts. Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child’s health.

Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be 'in the know'. Visit our Partners & Parents resource center for more.


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