The Best and Most Accurate Baby and Toddler Thermometers: How to Choose Them, How to Use Them

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After our not so pleasant experience with our daughter’s latest viral infection, I decided to write this article – which contains info and reviews of the main categories of thermometers – in order to help you find the best baby and toddler thermometer. I hope you will find it useful.

Our cute little daughter is almost 3 years old now. She recently had an ugly respiratory viral infection. She felt really bad, she was a bit dehydrated, with a sore throat and a fever that lasted almost 6 days. To be honest, it was her fever that gave us the headaches. First of all, because it lasted that long, and secondly, because during the first two days we realized we had no accurate and easy to use thermometer. So, yeah, we had to purchase a new one. Luckily, daddy had some time to do a bit of research and I asked our daughter’s pediatrician about it, so we ended up buying a new great thermometer.

This is the thermometer we use:
Baby Thermometer – Forehead and Ear Thermometer For Fever By DrKea.

There are various types of thermometers on the market:

  • Digital thermometers (rectal/axillary thermometers): they are very fast in recording your child’s temperature. Your child can hold them them under-the-tongue or in the armpit. For babies younger than 6 months, they are recommended to be inserted into the anus. For children younger than 3 months, rectal thermometers provide the most accurate readings.
  • Infrared thermometers or Forehead thermometers: these thermometers are one of the newer varieties of thermometers available today and the fastest reading on the market. They are very accurate, although there is no physical contact when reading your child’s temperature. They are more expensive than the other types of baby thermometers.
  • Electronic temporal artery thermometers: this type of thermometer is fast, non-invasive and extremely easy to use. They are suited for babies over 6 months and older.
  • Ear thermometers: they are very comfortable and easy to use. However, they are recommended for babies 6 months and older.
  • Digital pacifiers: this kind of baby thermometer is not very accurate and it is not as easy to use as it seems – your baby must hold it still in his mouth for 3 to 5 minutes in order to get a reading. This thermometer is not recommended for newborns.
  • Forehead strips: these are not as accurate as thermometers, but they are non-invasive and easy to use. Just hold the strip on your baby’s forehead and wait until it changes color.
  • Mercury thermometers: this kind of thermometer is very accurate, but it is not used anymore on babies and children because they are not safe – mercury thermometers are made of glass and they can easily break.

When buying a thermometer for your baby or toddler, you should consider the following factors:

  • Your child’s age: choose a thermometer appropriate for baby or toddler use (this should be specified on its box or booklet), so it is safe and it gives you an accurate body temperature when used correctly on your infant.
  • Safety: avoid using mercury thermometers (glass thermometers) on your child, especially if he is very young.
  • Suitability: use a certain type of thermometer depending on your child’s situation. An ear thermometer might do more harm than good if your child has an otitis and a rectal thermometer might hurt him if he’s suffering from a diaper rash.
  • Accuracy: choose a thermometer with the highest reading accuracy, but be careful not to overlook the rest of the factors.
  • Easy to use: the use of the thermometer should be as intuitive as possible.
  • Speed: you should be able to read your child’s temperature as fast as possible. Your baby or toddler is probably not going to stay put for more than a few seconds or minutes without moving.
  • Easy to clean: regular cleaning of your thermometer is a requirement, either you insert it in your baby’s bottom, mouth or it just touches his skin. Contact thermometers, especially, should be as easy as possible to clean. This way, you save time and avoid the spreading of germs.

Best thermometers by age:

  • Newborn to 3 months:
    • rectal thermometers.
  • 3 months to 3 years:
    • rectal/armpit thermometers;
    • ear thermometers;
    • electronic temporal artery thermometers;
    • digital pacifiers.
  • 4 to 5 years:
    • rectal/armpit thermometers;
    • ear thermometers;
    • electronic temporal artery thermometers;
    • oral thermometers, infrared thermometers, forehead strips.
  • 5 years and older:
    • armpit thermometers;
    • ear thermometers;
    • electronic temporal artery thermometers;
    • oral thermometers;
    • infrared thermometers, forehead strips.

What kind of thermometers do you use on your baby or toddler?
What were your criteria for purchasing the thermometer?

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