How Accurate is Your Baby Thermometer?

infrared baby thermometer

How accurate is your baby

thermometer?

– Tips & advice!

Wondering how to choose your baby thermometer? What’s the difference between a digital ear and a forehead thermometer? Is a rectal thermometer more accurate than an oral thermometer? Is an underarm thermometer right for babies and toddlers? How accurate are the temperature readings in digital and infrared thermometers?

These are just some of the questions you are probably asking if you are trying to choose your baby thermometer. Having a thermometer handy is important for taking your baby’s temperature. It helps to indicate if your baby’s sickness is treatable at home or if you need to take bub to the hospital or a doctor. Most babies will get sick sometime during their first year. But many parents can not really tell if baby has a fever.

Back in the days, a glass mercury thermometer was once a staple in a mum’s first aid kit. However, it is no longer advisable to use a mercury thermometer. Mercury could be toxic to humans if the thermometer develops a leak. So when choosing your baby thermometer, digital or infrared thermometers have become the better option. But before you start to shop for a digital or infrared thermometer, let’s first discuss the difference between a common digital thermometer and an infrared thermometer:

Digital thermometers

Digital thermometers use electronic heat sensors to record body temperature. They’re main use is in the rectum, mouth or armpit. Armpit temperatures are typically the least accurate of the three. A rectal thermometer is best for young babies.

Digital ear thermometers

This particular type of thermometer uses an infrared scanner to measure the temperature inside the ear canal. But do remember that earwax or a small ear canal can interfere with the accuracy of an ear thermometer temperature reading.

Temporal artery thermometers

Temporal artery thermometers, also known as forehead thermometers, use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead. A forehead thermometer is very handy as it can even take a temperature while a child is sleeping.

Digital pacifier thermometers

This particular type of thermometer has a digital sensor which records peak temperature. Your child simply sucks on the pacifier until the peak temperature is recorded. However, digital pacifier thermometers aren’t recommended for newborns. For the most accurate reading, your child must hold the pacifier still in his or her mouth for about three to five minutes which is often difficult for some hyperactive babies.

IN SUMMARY

Basically, a rectal temperature is some 0.5ºC higher and an underarm temperature is 0.5ºC lower than measurements taken orally. Meanwhile, ear temperatures are a completely different method again and can be up to 0.6ºC higher than an oral temperature.

WHICH IS THE BEST thermometer for babies?

For a newborn baby, specifically the first three months, the best digital thermometer to choose is a rectal thermometer. Remember, the goal of taking an accurate temperature reading is to assess how warm it is inside the body.  While ear and forehead thermometers are also accurate they are not recommended for small babies. However, they could be used to double check a rectal thermometer, which is advised by most doctors.
A pacifier or dummy thermometer could also be best for those aged from 2 months up to 3 years old. The Cherub Dummy Thermometer has been a trusted brand for many years. It has been awarded Product of the Year Award by Baby Maternity Magazine. The dummy thermometer is easy to use, hygienic and comfortable for your little one. Just place it in your baby’s mouth like a conventional dummy and wait for about 10 seconds until the LCD display shows the baby’s temperature.

WHICH IS THE BEST THERMOMETER FOR TODDLERS?

For babies and children above three months, taking a temperature rectally can be uncomfortable for the baby and difficult for you. An ear and forehead thermometer is therefore usually the most recommended by doctors because it is so reliable and accurate. It is also quick and easy to use. You just have to press a button to let the device know if you are measuring the temperature on the forehead or in the ears. Many doctors recommend taking the temperature on the forehead for those below one year old. Also choose an ear or forehead thermometer that is hospital grade and with a fever alarm. This is a big help for parents who are unsure what temperatures are normal for their baby.
Doctors also suggest to watch out for any excess dirt or oil build up. This could also throw off the thermometer’s measurements. So make sure to clean the sensor regularly with rubbing alcohol. Generally, the best option for parents is a hospital grade digital ear or a forehead thermometer if you want to use the thermometer for a longer period of time. You can use it as early as the first few weeks after birth and continue until your child grows older.

your baby thermometer

In summary

For many Australians, the Cherub Baby 4 in 1 Infrared Digital Ear and Forehead thermometer has been their fever companion. It works without probe covers and is easy to operate, hygienic, comfortable and provides very accurate readings. Aside from taking ear and forehead temperatures in just one second, it also takes room temperature and has a clock function. This award-winning hospital grade digital thermometer has been consistently awarded (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) the Best Baby Thermometer in the Mother & Baby Awards. It was voted as Favourite Baby Thermometer in the My Child Awards in 2016 and Choice Magazine also reviewed the digital thermometer as a Preferred Thermometer for its “Accurate, Easy to Use, No Bad Points” temperature readings.

References:

Thermometers: Understand the options – MayoClinic.org

How to Take Your Child’s Temperature – Kids Health

Forehead Thermometer versus Ear Thermometer: Which is Better? – PBC Expo

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