- Why do you need a digital baby thermometer?
- Types of thermometers
- Top tips for choosing the right digital baby thermometer
- How to thaw frozen breast milk
- When to seek medical help
A digital baby thermometer is one of the most important tools you need when it comes to monitoring your baby’s health. Thermometers have come a long way in a short time. Gone are the days when simply feeling your baby’s forehead was a good indictor of a fever. Or even struggling to take a wriggly baby’s temperature with an old fashioned glass and mercury thermometer.
Nowadays a digital baby thermometer is a must have for any parents’ first aid kit. However, with so many different models available how do you choose the best one for you and your family? The best digital baby thermometer should be easy to use, and above all, should give you fast and accurate readings. So let’s dive in and have a look at the different options available! But first…
Why do you need a digital baby thermometer?
A fever in a baby can be one of the symptoms of an underlying illness or just the baby’s own defense mechanism against an infection. A fever alone is not a disease. Instead it is a natural reaction of the body to ward off a bacterial or viral infection. However, a fever can still be quite scary for any new parent. That’s where a digital baby thermometer comes in, to help accurately monitor your baby’s temperature and to let you know when to seek medical help.
Types of thermometers
In general there are two different types of digital baby thermometers:
- Touch, or contact thermometers – these must touch the body in order to take a temperature.
- Touch-less, remote or no contact thermometers – can measure body temperature without touching the skin.
However the two different types of thermometer still come in a range of different models, and a range of prices! Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Touch digital baby thermometers:
Touch, or contact digital thermometers come in several different types. The one thing they all have in common is that they need contact with your baby to take a temperature.
Ear thermometers are specially designed to use with young babies, and are quick and easy to use. A digital ear thermometer is less invasive than a probe, or rectal thermometer. However, they can be inaccurate if not positioned correctly. In addition, they cannot be used for newborn babies as their ear canals are too small.
These use infrared technology to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead. They are non-invasive and can be ‘scanned’ across the forehead of a sleeping baby. Forehead thermometers are convenient, safe and accurate, and can be used for a child of any age.
If your baby is used to using a pacifier, then a dummy thermometer may sound ideal. However, a dummy thermometer can take anything from 2 to 5 minutes to get a reading which may not be as easy as it sounds.
Experts agree that rectal thermometer readings are the most accurate, and they are recommended for newborn babies and for children up to 3 years of age. However, many parents are uncomfortable with taking a rectal reading as they find it too intrusive.
Nowadays a combination digital baby thermometer can offer the best value for money. They come in different combinations. The most common are ear and forehead digital thermometers, or oral, rectal and armpit thermometers. A combination thermometer gives you different options to take your baby’s temperature. Plus you can use the different options to double check the accuracy of the readings.
Touch-less or no contact thermometers are the relative new kids on the block. They use infrared technology to scan your baby’s ear or forehead and deliver the most accurate temperature readings. In addition, as they are touch-less, you can take your baby’s temperature without having to disturb your baby.
As the technology is relatively new, a touch-less thermometer is at the higher price range of the market. However, studies have shown that touch-less thermometers have an accuracy of 97%. A touch-less thermometer is a reliable, comfortable and accurate option for taking a temperature. Plus as they are super hygienic they can be used for the whole family!
Top tips for choosing the right digital baby thermometer
Choosing the right digital baby thermometer will come down to your personal choice, and your budget. However there are some things we recommend that you look out for:
- Accuracy – most digital baby thermometers should be accurate enough, although they don’t claim to be quite as accurate as the new touch-less thermometers.
- Digital display size – the larger the display, the easier it is to read. Ideally it should be backlit too, so you can easily take a reading at night without disturbing your baby.
- Response time – babies can be hard to keep still, especially when they are unwell. Rather go for a thermometer that will give you a quick reading while also remaining accurate. Infrared thermometers are the fastest, but can also be a bit expensive.
- Fever alerts – some thermometer models have a display or an alarm to alert you when the temperature is higher than normal.
- Memory readings – many models can recall at least one previous reading, some as many as 35. This is good to detect whether your baby’s temperature is improving or not.
- Batteries – if your digital baby thermometer is battery run, always keep spare batteries handy, and keep them out of reach of children!
When to seek medical help
While a digital baby thermometer is a necessary tool to monitor your baby’s temperature, it’s good to know when to seek medical help. Most babies will have a fever at some time but not all fevers are the same, and most will run its natural course. The average body temperature for children is about 37°C. If your child’s temperature is higher than 38°C, they probably have a fever.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
- Redness or flushing and your baby may feel hot;
- Irritability and non-stop crying;
- Loss of appetite;
If your baby is showing signs of any of the above in combination with a high-temperature reading, consult your doctor or health care worker for advice.