The younger your child, the more you probably dread having to take his or her temperature during an illness. It’s hard enough to get an accurate oral reading on an impatient older child, but taking a rectal temperature on a young child is usually the hardest.
• Sometimes when a child is not seriously ill, all that is really necessary is to know whether or not fever is present. One way is to use a commercially available forehead strip that works something like the old, hand-on-the-forehead method.
• Or, there is the armpit reading, taken with a regular oral thermometer held in a child’s armpit for five minutes.
• However, you might be asked for the more accurate rectal reading if your doctor feels it’s necessary, in which case, you can put your child on his or her stomach across your lap or on a couch. You should make the insertion of a rectal thermometer easier by smearing it liberally with petroleum jelly. You should also distract your child with an egg timer to watch while the three minutes passes, or turn on the television or play a record. You could also read or tell your child a quick story.
• The main thing is that it is important to be sure your doctor which method you’ve used when you do report your child’s temperature.
Vicki Lansky’s practical, common sense approach to parenting is familiar to millions throughout the world. Vicki’s first book, Feed Me, I’m Yours, published in 1974, and still one of the most popular baby/toddler food cookbooks in the country, was followed by The Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her other titles include: Toilet Training, Birthday Parties Best Party Tips & Ideas For Ages 1-8, Dear Babysitter Handbook, Welcoming Your Second Baby, Getting Your Child to Sleep … and Back to Sleep, Trouble-free Travel with Children, Baby Proofing Basics and Games Babies Play From Birth to Twelve Months, Koko Bear’s New Potty, A New Baby at Koko Bear’s House, Koko Bear and the New Babysitter, and Koko Bear’s Big Earache. Vicki Lansky’s Divorce Book for Parents: Helping Children Cope with Divorce and Its Aftermath