Rectal, skin, and ambient temperatures were continuously recorded overnight from 3-4 month old normal infants in their home cots under conditions of room temperature and wrapping chosen freely by parents. It was found that rectal temperature was above 37 degrees C when infants were put down, but fell rapidly to 36.4 degrees C within one and a half hours, then stabilised for a few hours before rising steadily. This pattern was tied more closely to the time of putting down than time of day. The extent and rate of temperature fall did not correlate with any feature of the thermal environment. We also found that skin temperature changed much less than rectal temperature over the night, and for the first two hours in the cot there was no relation between skin and rectal temperature. There is therefore a well organised, endogenous rhythm of temperature in 4 month old infants.
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