Making sure your baby is the right temperature is important. Unlike adults, they won’t be able to express when they’re feeling either too hot or too cold. Baby’s cry for a lot of reasons, including hunger and tiredness, so it can sometimes be difficult to know when it’s because of heat (or cold).
Sometimes, a temperature might not be anything to worry about, but it could also be the result of an illness or infection. If you notice your baby has an irregular temperature, you need to get it looked at straight away. Consult your doctor immediately, or even visit the local hospital if you have to. If your baby just has a slight temperature, it might not be anything to worry about. But first thing’s first—you need to know what the temperature of your baby is. For that, you probably need a baby thermometer. While standard thermometers can work, specific baby ones can be a lot better for this sort of job. If you’re wondering how to use one, then you’re in the right place. Let’s have a look:
How to use baby thermometers
Let’s assume you’re working with a digital baby thermometer. These are fast and accurate, as well as being much cheaper than you might think. They’re easily available from all pharmacies. It’s a good idea to get one of these before you actually need one, so stock up when you can. While there are a lot of different thermometers available, digital ones tend to be the best. You can’t use some of the other thermometers with baby’s of all ages, yet digital ones are good for everyone.
Now you’ve got your thermometer and unpacked it, you’ll need to check it’s working. Make sure it has batteries and that they’re charged. After you’ve done that, you can start trying to take the correct temperature. You might want to test it on yourself to start with. If the unit is particularly cold to the touch, it might upset your baby, but don’t warm it up unnaturally as it could either damage it or lead to an inaccurate reading.
Start by putting your baby in a comfortable position on your knee. Try putting the thermometer in their armpit. You shouldn’t put the thermometer anywhere else unless they are over five years old.
Keep the thermometer in place by holding their arm gently. The amount of time you need to hold the thermometer in place will vary depending on the specific model you bought, but it’s normally around 15 seconds. Some models might beep when they have taken a reading and are ready to be removed.
When you have held the thermometer in place for the required amount of time, remove the unit and look at the temperature. Make a note if you have to, and compare it to recommended temperatures for children.
There are a few factors that could influence a reading and make it slightly inaccurate. Most digital thermometers are very accurate these days, but you still need to be a bit careful. Pay attention to the following factors that could artificially affect your child’s temperature, and make the reading on your thermometer not a true reading of your baby’s natural resting temperature at that time:
If your baby has been sleeping recently and has been wrapped in a blanket, this could make them warner than normal. So could being in a particularly warm room, or outside on a very hot day. If they have recently been running about or doing some other activity, they might also be hotter than normal. Hot water bottles and having a bath could also inflate their temperature reading.
If your baby has been doing any of these things recently, give them a few minutes to calm down and get used to a more normal environment without any external heat. Then you can take their temperature again and get a more accurate reading. When letting them cool down, make sure they don’t get too cold or shivery.
When using a digital thermometer, make sure you clear any old readings that might be stored from previous attempts to take someone’s temperature. Don’t get these digital thermometers mixed up with digital food or meat thermometers as these could be unhygienic and aren’t designed to do the same job.
Make sure you’ve checked all the specific instructions that come with your specific digital thermometer. Other types of thermometers are available, but they are not normally recommended. Stick with a digital one, they’re cheap enough and do the best job. This sort of technology has come down a lot in recent years and that means you can get small digital displays for next to nothing. These thermometers should be easy to find in either a supermarket or your local pharmacy. You can order them online, too.
Make sure you keep the thermometer in place for long enough. If you pull it out or move it away from the skin too quickly, it might give you a reading that took into account the temperature before it touched the baby. This will give an inaccurate reading. Make sure you’ve got a good idea of what temperature your baby should be, there’s plenty of info available for this sort of thing online. If your baby is too hot, or too cold, consult a doctor immediately.
When you’ve got the hang of your digital thermometer, you’ll be able to take your baby’s temperature whenever you want. As we already mentioned, it’s a good idea to have one of these handy and in your medicine cabinet beforehand, rather than rushing out and buying one when you think your baby has a temperature. Then you have the peace of mind of knowing there’s always one on hand to take a temperature as and when you need to.