Show Menu

Pediatric Temperature Measurement Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Pediatric Temperature Measurement

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Temper­ature measur­ement in ill infants and children is a vital assessment parameter. Generally, the measur­ement of body temper­ature is used to determine the presence or absence of fever. Fever can be used to gauge the severity of illness by both parents and healthcare providers. However, many factors such as age, activity level, time of day, diseas­e/i­llness, ambient temper­ature, and clothing can influence body temper­ature.


A normal temper­ature is not a specific number but instead can range from 97 to 100.4 degrees Fahren­heit. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) many fevers do not need treatment and are simply an indicator that the immune system has been activated as the result of a bacterial or viral illness. Fevers can actually help shorten a child’s illness (AAP, 2006). The need for immediate assess­ment, septic workup, and treatment for infants less than 90 days old with fever must be recognized as the infant’s condition can deteri­orate quickly (Graneto, 2016).

Normal Body Temper­ature


Temper­ature - Babies

Best Practice

SPN recommends the following best practice implic­ations for measuring temper­ature, or fever, in pediatric clients:

1. The nurse is aware that temper­ature measur­ement is a common concern for healthcare providers and parents and is knowle­dgeable as to the various modes/­methods available for measuring temper­ature in children.
2. Docume­ntation accurately reflects mode/m­ethod of temper­ature measur­ement.
3. Temporal artery thermo­metry is accurate with infants younger than 90 days without fever as well as for all patients greater than 3 months of age with or without fever, ill or well.
4. The rectal method should be used for infants younger than 90 days unless contra­ind­icated by diagnosis.
5. The tympanic or oral methods may be used in children 6 months of age or older, with correct positi­oning of the ear (tympanic) and if the patient can cooperate (oral).
6. The patient assessment includes etiologies that influence temper­atu­re/­fever in children.
7. Eviden­ce-­based practice determines the best method for evaluating temper­atu­re/­fever in any given setting, based on the age and condition of the client.
8. Eviden­ce-­based practice is utilized to determine best practice in policy develo­pment.