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How to check your child’s temperature

Find out what to do when you think your child has a temperature or fever, and the type of thermometer to use.

A temperature of 38°C degrees Celsius (100.4°F) or above is high for a child.

High temperatures are often caused by common illnesses like colds, flus or mild infections. They usually get better within 3 days.

It's important to keep a close eye on your child and talk to your GP if you think their temperature could be something more serious.

Related topics

When to get medical help for your child

Find out what to do if your child has a high temperature from UndertheWeather.ie

When to check your child's temperature

You should check your child’s temperature if they:

  • have flushed cheeks
  • feel hotter than usual on their chest, forehead, back or stomach
  • are sweaty
  • are more irritable than usual

How to check your child's temperature

The best way to check your child's temperature is with a digital thermometer. Ear or strip thermometers may not be as accurate.

You can buy a digital thermometer at a pharmacy, supermarket or online. The thermometer will come with instructions.

Do not take your child's temperature immediately after a bath or when they're wrapped in warm clothing, as you will not get an accurate result.

Do not use a mercury thermometer

Never use a mercury thermometer. They can break, exposing your child to glass splinters and mercury which is highly poisonous.

If your child is exposed to mercury

Call 01-8092166 immediately if your child is exposed to mercury. The Poisons Information Lineis open every day between 8am and 10pm.

Contact your nearest hospital emergency department (A&E) that treats children or call 999 if your child comes into contact with mercury outside of these hours.

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2018
Next review due: 20/11/2021