Accuracy of touch method for assessing temperature in newborn

  • Ancy Anto Anto
  • Shiny Mathew
  • Chandrakala Bada Shekharappa


Introduction: Early recognition of hypothermia by the mother or a health worker is crucial to institute corrective actions to improve
the survival of newborn babies. Hand-touch technique is a simple, practical, and inexpensive method that has been promoted for
assessing neonatal hypothermia in resource-poor countries. Objective: The objective of this study is to compare the accuracy of
touch method as assessed by mothers with the axillary method (standard technique) and to find the association of maternal variables
with the accuracy of touch method. Materials and Methods: In this diagnostic study, postnatal babies with birth weight >2 kg
and gestation >35 weeks were included within 24 h of birth after the parental consent. Those babies who were shifted to neonatal
intensive care unit were excluded from the study. Investigator demonstrated the touch method of assessing temperature to the
mother, and the temperature assessed by the mothers was then compared with the standardized temperature measurement technique
in the axilla. Babies were classified into two groups, i.e., hypothermia or no hypothermia (normothermia). Results: A total of 82
mother-baby dyads were studied. Of 22 (26.83%) babies, who were hypothermic by axillary temperature, mothers could correctly
categorize only 11 (50%) babies as hypothermic by touch method. Of 60 (73.17%) babies who had normal temperature as assessed
by axillary method, 40 (66.67%) babies were correctly categorized as normothermic by touch technique. Sensitivity, specificity,
positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of touch method by the mother and the investigator was 50%, 66%, 35.48%,
and 78.43% and 78.33%, 81.82%, 92.16%, and 58.06%, respectively. Conclusion: The sensitivity of the touch method as assessed
by the mother to detect hypothermia is poor. However, adequate and frequent training and experience of the mother can improve
the sensitivity. The study could be recommended to perform with larger sample size.

Keywords: Accuracy, Mother, Newborn, Standard technique, Touch method
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How to Cite
Anto, A. A., Mathew, S., & Shekharappa, C. ( ). Accuracy of touch method for assessing temperature in newborn. Indian Journal of Child Health, 5(7), 477-480. Retrieved from
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