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A rectal temperature is taken by placing a thermometer in baby’s bottom. This method provides the most accurate reading, but it should be done only when advised by your baby’s doctor. Use the steps on this handout as a guide.
Be sure to use a thermometer that is for rectal use.
Wipe the thermometer with warm, soapy water, then wipe with clear water. Wipe dry or let the thermometer air-dry.
Put a bit of petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant on the tip.
Use the position that works best for you.
Put baby on his or her back on a firm surface. Hold baby’s ankles and lift both legs, as if changing a diaper.
Or place baby face down across your lap. Use one hand to part baby’s buttocks.
Follow the directions for using your specific digital thermometer.
Gently slip the tip of the thermometer into the rectum (the opening where bowel movements leave baby’s body), no further than 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Hold the thermometer in place until it beeps that it is ready. Slide the thermometer out. Read the temperature on the digital display.
Before putting the thermometer away, clean it with soap and warm water.