The Baby Thermometer, a basic tool in your 1st Aid Kit

By Jo Charnock, Cherub Baby

So why should a baby thermometer be an essential tool in every household’s first aid kit?

A young baby’s temperature should be around 37°C. But if your baby is showing signs of a fever how do you accurately take a temperature? While feeling your baby’s forehead may give you a good indication, a baby thermometer is the most accurate way to take a temperature reading.

What is a fever?
A fever is when your child’s temperature is 38°C or higher. While a fever itself is not an actual illness, it is a sign that your baby may have some kind of infection. In most cases, a fever is a healthy sign that the body is fighting an illness, but if your baby is younger than 3 months you should consult a doctor immediately.

Causes of fever and high temperature in children.
Fevers are extremely common in young babies and children. The most common causes are mild infections like the common cold or a stomach bug. Other bacterial infections can include ear or throat infections, common childhood illnesses like chickenpox, or on a more serious note pneumonia or meningitis. Monitoring your baby’s temperature accurately with a baby thermometer gives you an early warning of when to contact your doctor.

Signs and symptoms of fever.
A reading of 38°C or more on your baby thermometer is an accurate indication that your baby has a fever. But other symptoms may include the following:

  • your baby being grumpy and feeling hot and bothered,
  • crying a lot,
  • drowsiness,
  • shivering or sweating,
  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea,
  • dehydration from not drinking enough liquid.

Which baby thermometer is right for you?
There are various ways of taking your child’s temperature, but using a baby thermometer is the most accurate. Nowadays most baby thermometers are digital but they come in a range of different types:

  • Digital Ear Thermometers are quick and easy to use but can be inaccurate.
  • Digital Forehead Thermometers use infrared technology to scan your baby’s forehead. They are quick and easy to use and fairly accurate.
  • All in one solutions like the 4 in 1 Cherub Baby Thermometer take accurate and fast readings from the forehead and ear. They are safe and hygienic and can be used for the whole family.
  • Digital Dummy Thermometers are easy to use as they act as a pacifier. They can take a little longer to get an accurate reading.

Whichever baby thermometer you choose, make sure you have read the instructions and you know how to use it. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to give you a demonstration if you are unsure.

When should you see a doctor?
Using your baby thermometer will give you an accurate reading of your baby’s temperature. If you discover a reading of 38°C or higher in a child under 3 months you must go to your doctor immediately. For young children older than 3 months take them to the doctor if the baby thermometer reading is higher than 38°C and they are showing any other symptoms. If your child has a fever but is not showing any other symptoms, monitor the situation. If the fever is still there after a couple of days you should see a doctor.

Care at home.
Any child under 3 months with a baby thermometer reading of 38°C or higher should see a doctor immediately. But if your child is over 3 months and has a fever without any other symptoms it’s quite possible to care for your baby at home. He or she may have a loss of appetite but it is important to keep them hydrated. For babies still breastfeeding give them smaller but more frequent feeds. For older babies give them water, watered-down fruit juice or weak cordials little and often. Make sure they are comfortable and that they get plenty of rest. Paracetamol can be given at the correct dosage, but never for more than a couple of days without consulting your doctor.

IMPORTANT
Remember fever is very common in children and there is no cause for panic. Have a good baby thermometer on hand to monitor your baby’s temperature, know how to use it and know when to see your doctor.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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