Axillary (Armpit) Reading
When to use it
This method is acceptable for babies over 3 months of age. While it's certainly preferable (for both mother and baby) to a rectal reading, the results are usually not as accurate. If you're squeamish about taking your infant's or young child's temperature rectally, the axillary method is the next best choice.
How to do it
1. You can use either a rectal or oral thermometer. Read the directions that came with the thermometer so that you know which beep (or series of beeps) is a sign that the thermometer is finished reading. Turn it on and check that the screen is clear of any old readings.
2. Prepare the thermometer by washing it in cool (not hot) soapy water or rubbing alcohol.
3. Remove your child's shirt and undershirt. Make sure that the thermometer will only touch skin and not clothing.
4. Insert the thermometer in your child's armpit. Hold your child's arm tightly across his chest to keep the thermometer in place until you hear the beep or series of beeps.
5. Remove the thermometer to check the digital reading. Record the temperature and the time of day it was taken in case you need to inform the pediatrician.
6. Be aware that axillary readings may be a degree or two below oral or rectal readings. If your child's temperature is above 102 degrees, it's recommended that you take it again orally (if your child is 3 years or older) or rectally for a more accurate reading.