In our ER our docs insist on us taking rectal temps on babies. I don't mind doing this if they aren't squirming all over the place, (makes me nervous) but I'm just curious how anyone else takes temps on peds.
I have called up to my peds floor to give report and asked about rectal temps and told that they don't do them up there. Anyone have any thoughts on the advantages, disadvantages of rectal temps?
Mar 17, '04
I work in a pedi triage call center. We have all parents do a rectal temp for infants less than 12 weeks of age because it is imperative that we be accurate. Due to their limited immune system, they may either have a fever or may actually drop their temps below normal which can also indicate sepsis. On these babies, we have found that the rectal temps can be almost the same as or very near to the axillary temps. Usually you can adjust the axillary temp up 1 degree on children above 12 weeks of age. Fever for an infant of this age is 100.4R or above. They are sent in to the ER right away for a work up.
I have seen trends over the past few years that the tympanic temps can be off several degrees based on the technique of the user. I never trust tympanic temps and would rather see an axillary temp/oral if they are older.
Also, tympanics are not as accurate on the younger infants due to the short ear canals as they may not have good contact and therefore, not be as accurate!!
Last edit by Shed13911 on Mar 17, '04