If your child is younger than 3 years, taking a rectal temperature gives the best reading. Here's how:
- Clean the end of a digital thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Rinse it with cool water.
- Put a small amount of petroleum jelly on the end.
- Place your child belly down across your lap or on a firm surface. Put your palm against his lower back, just above his bottom. Or place your child face up and bend his legs to his chest. Rest your free hand against the back of the thighs.
- With the other hand, turn the thermometer on and insert it 1/2 inch to 1 inch into the anal opening. Don’t insert it too far. Hold the thermometer in place loosely with two fingers, keeping your hand cupped around your child's bottom, until you hear the beep. Remove it and check reading.