As parents, we monitor everything about our babies because we want to make sure they are safe. As an old saying goes, we make sure that even a mosquito cannot get near our child. We do everything to protect them. One of the important things to monitor is your baby’s body temperature. It is essential to know what is the normal temperature of a baby.
There’s a little difference between the normal baby temperature forehead, normal baby temperature armpit, and the normal rectal temperature. What is the normal temperature for a baby?
The normal temperature of a baby
What is the normal temperature for a baby?
What is considered normal when it comes to the body temperature of a baby differs on how you took their temperature. Did you take their temperature through their rectum or armpit? Or did you use forehead strips to get their temperature? You can also take their temperature through the mouth or ears.
Normal body temperature for baby
Normal baby temperature forehead and normal baby temperature armpit
The normal temperature of baby and children is about 36.4 °C. If your baby’s temperature strikes 38°C or higher then probably, they have a fever. You can also check if their forehead, back, or stomach feels hotter to touch than usual. Other symptoms of fever in babies and children are:
- Feeling sweaty or clammy
- Having flushed cheeks
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How to take your baby’s temperature?
You can monitor the normal body temperature of a baby using a thermometer. Doctors recommend only using digital thermometers in taking your baby’s temperature. According to Web MD, the use of mercury thermometers is not recommended because they pose a risk of mercury exposure and poisoning if they break.
There are different ways to take normal body temperature for baby. According to NHS UK and WebMD, the most accurate type of thermometer is the digital thermometer. You can take your baby’s temperature using a digital thermometer through the armpit or rectum.
Other types of thermometers are called tympanic thermometers or ear thermometers and strip-type thermometers. Strip-type thermometers are used to take a baby’s body temperature through the forehead.
Normal baby temperature forehead
Strip-type thermometers are not as accurate as the digital thermometers used in armpits or rectum. According to NHS UK, forehead thermometers show the temperature of the skin instead of body temperature.
On the other hand, you may take your baby’s temperature quickly using the ear thermometer, however, this kind of thermometer usually gives misleading readings if not put in the ear correctly.
Since babies’ ear holes are so small, inaccurate readings are more likely to happen. Aside from that, ear temperatures are not accurate before 6 months of age. So, you cannot take an accurate body temperature using tympanic thermometers for a newborn baby.
According to Seattle Children’s Organization, the normal temperature of a baby differs on how you take the temperature. Rectal, forehead, or ear temperature should be lower than 38.0 °C.
If it goes higher than that, then the baby has a fever. On the other hand, if the temperature is taken orally or by mouth, then the normal temperature of a baby should be lower than 37.8 °C. If it strikes higher, then the baby is sick.
Normal baby temperature armpit
The normal baby temperature in the armpit or under the arms is lower than 37.2 °C, if the temperature rises more than 37.2 °C then it is considered that your baby has a fever.
Photo by Jcomp from Freepik
Cause of fever in a baby
It is important to know the cause of fever in a baby to understand what you should do when your baby experiences it.
Fever in babies is a symptom of an underlying condition or illness. A fever is an indication that your baby’s body is fighting an illness and that its immune system is working to protect them from bacteria and viruses.
However, aside from the common cold and other viral infections, a fever may also be a sign of pneumonia, urinary tract infections, ear infections, blood bacterial infection, or meningitis. That is why, it is important for us, parents, to look after our kids and make sure to consult a doctor when they have a striking high temperature.
If your baby is vomiting or having diarrhea together with the fever, it is paramount to make sure that you keep them hydrated. Fever can lead to dehydration, especially if your baby is not drinking well.
Children can get dehydrated easily. Symptoms of dehydration to watch out for includes dry mouth, fewer wet diapers, and crying without tears. If your baby is breastfeeding, continue to nurse your baby to prevent dehydration.
Treatment for fever in a baby
If your baby seems to remain comfortable, can sleep and eat well, and plays normally, then it’s fine to wait and see if the fever will go away on its own. Consult your pediatrician about administering a dose of fever medicine like acetaminophen, paracetamol, or ibuprofen. Ask for the correct dosage depending on your baby’s age and health condition.
To comfort your baby, you can give them a sponge bath in lukewarm water. You can also use a cooling fan and make sure that your baby is not overdressed. Remove any extra clothing and offer extra fluids to keep them hydrated.
Check your baby’s temperature from time to time to monitor if their temperature is getting lower, or getting higher. Consult your doctor immediately if your baby’s fever is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and seizure. You may also bring your child to your pediatrician if they are acting very ill, unusually sleepy, or very fussy.
Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels
The normal temperature of a newborn baby
According to Healthline, checking the normal temperature of a newborn baby is different from older babies. Newborn babies can have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Instead of a striking high temperature, they may become cold instead. If your little one has a temperature lower than 36 °C, call your doctor immediately.
Seek emergency care
Aside from their body temperature, it is also important to monitor their breathing process. If you notice that your baby is having trouble breathing, seek emergency medical attention immediately. You need to also check the color of their lips. If the skin or lips look blue or gray, it is a sign that your baby is having a hard time breathing.
You may also seek emergency care if your baby has bleeding that cannot be stopped, seizures, serious facial injuries, and head injuries that are followed by changes in consciousness.
Tips for taking your baby’s body temperature
- In taking a rectal temperature, check the manufacturer’s instructions if they recommend water-soluble jelly or petroleum jelly as a lubricant.
- Lubricate the tip of the thermometer.
- Place your baby on a firm, flat surface and insert the lubricated thermometer through the anal opening.
- Speak to your baby as you gently insert the thermometer through the anal opening.
- In taking an axillary temperature or armpit temperature remove your baby’s shirt. Make sure that the thermometer is touching the skin and not the clothing.
- Insert the thermometer in your baby’s armpit and fold their arms across their chest to hold the thermometer in place.
- Remember not to leave your baby unattended while taking their temperature.
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