An axillary temperature is taken by holding the thermometer under your baby's arm. To provide a correct reading, this must be done with care. Use the steps on this handout as a guide.
Getting the thermometer ready
Be sure to use a thermometer that is for underarm use.
Clean the thermometer before and after each use.
Be sure the thermometer is at room temperature.
Remove the cover from the thermometer.
Positioning your baby
Hold your baby on your lap. Or lay your infant on his or her back on a firm surface.
Grasp your baby's elbow. Gently but firmly, lift the arm away from baby's side.
Place the tip of the thermometer in the fold of the armpit. To get a true reading, make sure the thermometer is against your baby's skin on all sides.
Bring the arm down next to baby's side.
Taking the temperature
Follow the instructions for using your digital thermometer.
Keep your baby's arm against his or her side. This keeps the thermometer in place.
When the thermometer beeps, release your hold and gently lift your baby's arm. Remove the thermometer.
Read the temperature on the digital display. Normal temperature is around 98.6°F (37°C), but it can range from 97.6°F to 99.6°F (36.4°C to 37.6°C).
Before putting the thermometer away, clean it with soap and warm water or alcohol.
When reporting the temperature to your baby's healthcare provider, make sure you tell him or her that it was an axillary temperature reading.
October 03, 2017
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Adler, Liora C., MD,Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP,Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.