Choosing the Best Thermometer for Your Baby

Body temperature is one of the key indicators of baby’s health and well-being. A very high fever is an indication of a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Hence, choosing a good and accurate thermometer matters. There are several types of thermometers out in the market today, but it’s easy enough to choose the right one for your baby. Take a look at your options:

Rectal thermometers. These are the most accurate thermometers for babies from 0 to 3 months of age. To use a rectal thermometer, lubricate the tip with petroleum jelly, put baby in a face-down position, hold baby still, and carefully enter the tip of the thermometer about half an inch into baby’s rectum. Stop if you feel any resistance. Hold the thermometer in place until it beeps.

Oral thermometers. Oral thermometers are best for children 4 years old and up. Oral thermometers are pretty much interchangeable with rectal thermometers, as far as appearance is concerned, but if you have children using a rectal thermometer, it’s best to get a separate oral thermometer for everyone else. Oral thermometers are easy to use – just place them under the child’s tongue and keep them in place until the thermometer beeps. Make sure your child does not bite the thermometer.

Armpit thermometers. These are rectal/oral thermometers placed under the armpit. Although this method of using the thermometer is preferred by many, it is a less accurate way of taking your child’s temperature than the oral and rectal method.

Ear thermometer. The digital ear thermometer, or the tympanic thermometer, uses infrared rays to measure the temperature of the eardrum. In many cases, this is a fast and satisfactorily accurate way of taking temperature, but its accuracy is adversely affected when the child is an infant or if the ear canal is curved or so full of earwax that the infrared rays are unable to hit the eardrum.

Other types. The temporal thermometer is applied on the forehead. It is not considered accurate for most ages, but a Harvard University study has found it reliable for very young infants. Pacifier thermometers are oral thermometers shaped like pacifiers, for infant use. They are, however, not as accurate as rectal thermometers.