Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Rectal Temperature

h9991809_001.jpg

A rectal thermometer is the most accurate way to take a temperature.

To take a rectal temperature:

  1. Apply a lubricant jelly or petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, on the bulb of the thermometer, so that you can insert it easily.
  2. Choose a quiet place so that the child won't be distracted or move around too much. When measuring the temperature of babies or small children:
    • Place your child faceup with legs bent toward the chest with your hand on the back of the thighs or holding the feet as if you were changing a diaper.
    • Place the child facedown on your lap or on a flat covered or padded surface, such as a bed.
  3. Gently insert the bulb end of the rectal thermometer about 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) to 1 in. (2.5 cm) into the anal canal. Don't force it into the rectum. Hold the thermometer in place with two fingers close to the anal opening (not near the end of the thermometer).
  4. Leave the thermometer in place for the required amount of time, usually a minute. Some digital thermometers give a series of short beeps when the reading is done. Time yourself with a watch or clock.
  5. Remove the thermometer and read it.
  6. Clean a digital thermometer with cool, soapy water, and rinse it off before putting it away.
  7. After a thermometer has been used to take a rectal temperature, do not use it to take an oral temperature.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
jennifer aniston
Slideshow
 
Measles virus
Article
sick child
Slideshow
 

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool