How to Take a Temperature

What is a normal temperature for my child?

A child's temperature (temp) varies during the day. It is lower in the morning and higher in the evening. It may vary some based on the method you use to take your child's temp, your child's age and condition and the time of day. If you call your child's doctor, be sure to say which method you used.

What is a fever?

A fever is when the body's temp is higher than normal.

Place for taking your child's temp

Approximate normal temp range

Fever range

Special note

Rectal (in the bottom)

97°F to100.3°F

Over 100.3°F

If your baby is younger than 24 months old, take his temp this way.

Oral (by mouth)

97°F to 100°F

Over 100.3°F

Drinking hot or cold liquids just before taking an oral temp can change the reading. Make sure your child does not have anything hot or cold to drink for 20 - 30 minutes before taking his temp.

Axillary (under the arm)

97°F to 100°F

Over 100°F

This is the least accurate way to take your child's temp.

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Atlanta Children's Clinical Center

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