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NICE guidance - thermometer for detection of fever in children under 5 years old

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

NICE have stated that (1) with respect to children less than years old:

  • oral and rectal routes should not routinely be used to measure the body temperature of children aged 0-5 years

  • in infants under the age of 4 weeks, body temperature should be measured with an electronic thermometer in the axilla

  • in children aged 4 weeks to 5 years, healthcare professionals should measure body temperature by one of the following methods:
    • electronic thermometer in the axilla
    • chemical dot thermometer in the axilla
      • NICE note that healthcare professionals who routinely use disposable chemical dot thermometers should consider using an alternative type of thermometer when multiple temperature measurements are required
    • infra-red tympanic thermometer

  • forehead chemical thermometers are unreliable and should not be used by healthcare professionals

  • reported parental perception of a fever should be considered valid and taken seriously by healthcare professionals

For full details then consult full guideline (1).


  1. NICE (May 2013).Feverish illness in children: assessment and initial management in children younger than 5 years

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