Temperature measurement is a commonly used assessment parameter when caring for the critically ill child. Interpreting the temperature measurement mode and what constitutes clinically significant thermal instability are poorly defined. Thus, decisions made regarding patient management based on temperature measurement can be challenging for caregivers. Infants and children have unique physioanatomic considerations that impact maintaining thermoregulation. Numerous routes for taking temperature measurements are described including the oral, axillary, tympanic (aural), rectal, skin, urinary bladder, pulmonary artery, esophageal, nasopharyngeal, supralingual (pacifier), and temporal-artery. Numerous studies on temperature measurement have been conducted on children of various ages using a variety of thermometers and routes in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Although there are limited studies reported on the critically ill child, research data pertinent to the critically ill child from subjects in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, operating room, and inpatient units are summarized.

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