Underarm Temperature For Infant

Normal temperature range for an infant: Under the arm is 97.5 to 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.5 to 37.4 degrees Celsius. Rectal is 100.2 degrees Fahrenheit or less, or 37.9 degrees Celsius or less

Babies under three months of age will have a body temperature of 97.5 to 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.5 to 37.4 degrees Celsius when measured under the arm. For an older infant, rectal temperature is used to determine if they have a high temperature.

A baby’s normal temperature is between 97.5 and 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or 36.5 to 37.4 degrees Celsius. The best way to check your infant’s temperature is by using a digital thermometer that you can buy at a pharmacy or online store. Place the tip of the thermometer in your baby’s armpit for about five seconds and make sure it does not touch the bone.

Normal temperature range for an infant is 97.5 to 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.5 to 37.4 degrees Celsius under the arm, and 100.2 degrees Fahrenheit or less, or 37.9 degrees Celsius or less when measured rectally.

Underarm temperatures for infants, depending on their age, should be between 97.5 to 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.5 to 37.4 degrees Celsius. Additionally, rectal temperatures are 100.2 degrees Fahrenheit or less, or 37.9 degrees Celsius or less

Underarm Temperature Chart

Your best bet is to use a digital thermometer. These can be bought inexpensively in any supermarket or pharmacy and can be used to take rectal (in the bottom) or axillary (in the armpit) temperature readings.

Taking a rectal temperature gives the most accurate reading of body temperature in infants and young children. However, if the thought of doing this makes you squeamish, taking an axillary temperature is the next best choice.

Be aware that temperature strips, which are placed on someone’s forehead for a reading, have been found to be poor indicators of true body temperature, especially in infants and children, and should be avoided. The digital thermometer is best for temperature taking at home.

How to take a newborn’s temperature

Taking a rectal temperature

  • Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with a lubricating jelly. Check the manufacturer’s directions to see whether water-soluble jelly or petroleum jelly is recommended.
  • Place your baby on a firm, flat surface such as a changing table.
  • Using your hand, insert the lubricated thermometer through the anal opening, about one-half to one inch or about 1.25 to 2.5 centimeters into the rectum. Stop at less than ½ inch or about 1.25 centimeters if you feel any resistance.
  • Steady the thermometer between your second and third fingers as you cup your hand against your baby’s bottom. Soothe your baby and speak to him/her quietly as you hold the thermometer in place.
  • Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Read and record the number on the screen, noting the time of day that the reading was taken.

Taking an axillary temperature

  • Remove your child’s shirt and undershirt. The thermometer should touch skin only, not clothing.
  • Insert the thermometer in your child’s armpit. Fold your child’s arm across his chest to hold the thermometer in place.
  • Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Read and record the number on the screen, noting the time of day that the reading was taken.

Additional tips

  • Never take your baby’s temperature right after a bath or if he/she has been bundled tightly for a while — this can affect the temperature reading
  • Never leave a child unattended while taking his temperature
  • Temperature should be taken only if the baby feels hot or is lethargic
  • A baby’s normal temperature range:
    • Under the arm is 97.5 to 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.5 to 37.4 degrees Celsius
    • Rectal is 100.2 degrees Fahrenheit or less, or 37.9 degrees Celsius or less
  • These are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended ranges. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to discuss them with your baby’s healthcare provider

Normal Underarm Temperature

When Does Your Baby Have a Fever??

  • Rectal, Forehead or Ear temperature: 100.4° F (38.0° C) or higher
  • Under the arm (armpit) temperature: 99° F (37.2° C) or higher
  • Caution: Ear temperatures are not accurate before 6 months of age

Where to Take the Temperature

  • Rectal temps are the most accurate. Forehead temps are the next most accurate. Ear temps are also accurate if done properly. Temps done in the armpit are the least accurate. Armpit temps are useful for screening at any age.
  • Age under 3 months old (90 days old). An armpit temp is the safest and is good for screening. If the armpit temp is above 99° F (37.2° C), re-check it. Use a rectal reading. Reason: If young babies have a fever, they need to see a doctor now. New research shows that forehead temps may also be accurate under 3 months of age.
  • Age 3 months to 1 year old. Rectal or forehead temps are accurate. An ear thermometer can be used after 6 months old. An armpit temp is good for screening if it is taken right.
  • Digital (electronic) thermometers are easily found in stores. They do not cost very much. They can be used for rectal and armpit temps. Most of them give an accurate temp in 10 seconds or less. The AAP suggests you replace any glass thermometer in the house with one of these products.

Rectal Temperature: How to Take

  • Age: Birth to 1 year old
  • Have your child lie stomach down on your lap. Another way is on the back with the legs pulled up to the chest.
  • Put some petroleum jelly on the end of the thermometer and the anus.
  • Slide the thermometer gently into the anus no more than 1 inch. If your child is less than 6 months old, put it in no more than ½ inch. That means until you can no longer see the silver tip.
  • Be gentle. There should not be any resistance. If there is, stop.
  • Hold your child still. Leave a digital thermometer in until it beeps (about 10 seconds).
  • Your child has a fever if the rectal temp is above 100.4° F (38° C).
  • Warning: do not take rectal temperatures in young children with leukemia or other cancers. Also avoid in other children with weak immune systems such as organ transplant, HIV or sickle cell disease.

Armpit Temperature: How to Take

  • Age: Any age for screening
  • Put the tip of the thermometer in an armpit. Make sure the armpit is dry.
  • Close the armpit by holding the elbow against the chest. Do this until it beeps (about 10 seconds). The tip of the thermometer must stay covered by skin.
  • Your child has a fever if the armpit temp is above 99.0° F (37.2° C). If you have any doubt, take your child’s temp by rectum or forehead.

Digital Pacifier Temperature: How to Take

  • Age: Birth to 1 year. Only good for screening. Requires the baby to suck on it, which is not always possible.
  • Have your child suck on the pacifier until it beeps (about 10 seconds).
  • Your child has a fever if the pacifier temp is above 100° F (37.8° C).

Ear Temperature: How to Take

  • Age: 6 months and older (not accurate before 6 months)
  • This thermometer reads the heat waves coming off the eardrum.
  • A correct temp depends on pulling the ear backward. Pull back and up if over 1 year old.
  • Then aim the tip of the ear probe between the opposite eye and ear.
  • Parents like this thermometer because it takes less than 2 seconds. It also does not need the child to cooperate. It does not cause any discomfort.
  • Caution. Being outdoors on a cold day will cause a low reading. Your child needs to be inside for 15 minutes before taking the temp. Earwax, ear infections and ear tubes do not keep from getting correct readings.

Forehead (Temporal Artery) Temperature: How to Take

  • Age: Any age
  • This thermometer reads the heat waves coming off the temporal artery. This blood vessel runs across the forehead just below the skin.
  • Place the sensor head at the center of the forehead.
  • Slowly slide the thermometer across the forehead toward the top of the ear. Keep it in contact with the skin.
  • Stop when you reach the hairline.
  • Read your child’s temp on the display screen.
  • Note: some newer forehead thermometers don’t need to slide across the forehead. Follow the box directions on how to take the temp.
  • Used in more doctor’s offices than any other thermometer.
  • Parents like this thermometer because it takes less than 2 seconds. It also does not need the child to cooperate. It does not cause any discomfort.
  • Caution: Forehead temperatures must be digital. Forehead strips are not accurate.

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