Children's Temperature Chart

Children’s Temperature Chart

Use the children’s temperature figures below to gauge your child’s fever.

Get the PDF with a full Children’s Fever Temperature Chart

Before you take your child's temperature

Using a conventional glass thermometer. First shake the thermometer until the mercury line falls below 35.6°C (96° F). Then clean the thermometer in soapy water or swab it with rubbing alcohol. Rinse it with cool water.

How to take your child's rectal temperature (for children younger than 3 years old):

Coat the bulb end with petroleum jelly. Place your child (stomach down) over your lap, holding the child's bottom, slowly insert the thermometer about one-half inch to one inch into the anal canal. Keep the thermometer in place for 2 minutes.

How to take your child's oral temperature (for children ages 5 and older):

Slowly insert the tip of the thermometer under the tongue. Have your child hold the thermometer in place by keeping lips closed—without biting it—for about 2 to 3 minutes. Wait at least 10 minutes after your child drinks hot or cold liquids before taking his or her temperature.

How to take your child's under the arm temperature (for children any age):

Place the bulb of the thermometer (either oral or rectal) under your child's armpit, making sure the arm rests snugly against the body. Wait 3 to 4 minutes before removing.

Normal Rectal Temperature

Fever

36.6°C – 38°C (97.9°F – 100.4°F)

38.1°C (100.5°F) or higher

 

Normal Oral Temperature

Fever

35.5°C – 37.5°C (95.9°F – 99.5°F)

37.6°C (99.6°F) or higher

 

Normal Armpit Temperature

Fever

34.7°C – 37.3°C (94.5°F – 99.1°F)

37.4°C (99.2°F) or higher

Contact your physician as soon as possible if your child:

  • has a fever and is younger than 3 months old
  • has a temperature over 40° C (104° F ) and is older than 3 months old
  • has a history of febrile seizures
  • has a fever that lasts longer than 72 hours without an obvious cause or location of infection
  • cries inconsolably, looks or acts very sick, has diarrhea or repeated vomiting or difficulty awakening, has signs of dehydration or refuses to drink
  • develops any unusual or severe symptoms, such as a stiff neck, confusion, rash with fever, difficulty breathing, or seizures
  • appears to be getting worse
  • has a fever and sickle cell anemia