The body temperature of a child generally stays the same as an adult's. That is to say the "core" temperature stays around 99 -100ºF. The core temperature is the temperature of the blood coming out of the heart. Measuring the temperature of a person can be slightly tricky depending upon where the temperature is measured. Parents get confused sometimes, having heard various rules about adding or subtracting degrees depending upon where the temperature was measured. The best rules are:

  • avoid oral and axillary (armpit) temperatures in anybody small enough to do a rectal temperature
  • rectal temperatures for newborns, infants, and hopefully toddlers - especially newborns
  • if you have an ear thermometer, leave it set on "rectal" if possible to choose
  • always report to the doctor or nurse exactly what number you read, where you read it, and what you used - "Nurse Ratchit, Johnny has a temp of 101.4º rectally. I measured it with a digital thermometer."
  • never "correct" the temperature for the doctor - tell what you measured without adding or subtracting anything

See fever, and thermometers.

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