This study was conducted on one hundred full-term normal newborn infants to compare body temperatures as obtained by axilla and rectal measures and to find out which measure recorded the highest temperature. Three time periods of axillary measurement and three time periods of the three depths of rectal measure were considered. The three time periods were (1) one and one-half, (2) three, and (3) five minutes. The three depths of rectal insertion were (1) insertion of the bulb end of the thermometer just beyond the sphincter, (2) 2.5 cm., and (3) 5 cm. into the rectum.

The research was carried out by the experimental method. Infants were twenty-four hours to seven days of age and residents in two hospitals where the nurseries were temperature controlled and clothing worn was similar. One thermometer was used for the four measures on each infant and temperatures were taken by one individual to avoid possible error.

It was found that the 5 cm. depth of insertion rectally recorded the highest body temperature of the measures used. This measure was stable over the periods of increase of time of the measurement. The 2.5 cm. rectal insertion provided a degree of temperature which was very close in degree of temperature and stability when compared with the 5 cm. depth. Variations and a lower degree of temperature was found with the rectal bulb measure. The axillary measure approximated the degree of temperature obtained by the 2.5 cm. measure at 5 minutes. It was observed that time caused a greater change in the degree of temperature recorded by axillary measurement, especially in the increase of time from 1.5 to 3 minutes.

Statistical analyses by use of the F value and t test were done. These findings did not fully support the hypotheses that there is no significant difference between axillary and rectal measures of taking infant temperatures.

LLU Discipline





Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Betty Trubey

Second Advisor

Winifred Edwards

Third Advisor

Nord Nation

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Body Temperature -- in infancy & childhood Infant; Newborn



Page Count

x; 65

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives