How to Choose the Best Baby Thermometer
How do you choose the best baby thermometer? What features and functions should the best baby thermometer have to suit your needs? Read our guide and make an informed choice.
Your baby’s forehead is hot. Does he have fever? What are you going to do? Before you panic and run away at the doctor’s office it may be best to confirm your suspicions. You do not want to waste time and money on a trip to the doctor’s office that maybe is not needed. A baby thermometer can help you here.
The best baby thermometer can give you accurate information about baby’s body temperature. With this information, you may know if you are an over-protective parent (not something bad) or if your baby has a fever and you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
The problem with choosing the best baby thermometer is that there is a wide variety of types and models on the market, so it’s difficult to choose the right thermometer for your baby. With our guide you will become a small expert in baby thermometers and you will be able to make the best choice for you. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Baby Thermometer: What to Look for
- 2 Types of Baby Thermometers
- 2.1 Rectal Baby Thermometers
- 2.2 Infrared Baby Thermometers
- 2.3 Baby Ear Thermometers
- 2.4 Underarm Baby Thermometers
- 2.5 Universal Baby Thermometers
- 2.6 Safety of Baby Thermometers
The Best Baby Thermometer: What to Look for
Although there are many features that you can compare for choosing an ideal baby thermometer, two of these are the most important: precision and consistency.
The truth is simple: if the chosen thermometer does not offer a precise measurement, then you can take your baby’s temperature with a stick. A modern thermometer can have a multitude of top functions and features, but if it does not measure the temperature correctly, then it is useless.
Congratulations, your baby’s thermometer measures the temperature perfectly and accurately, 2 out of 14 attempts. Choose a baby thermometer that gives you precise temperature measurement not only occasionally, but every time. A baby thermometer that does not provide consistent results can cause your baby to be misdiagnosed.
If you have found a number of thermometer models that are accurate and consistent, then we can move on to other features that you should consider before purchasing.
Ease of Use
Choose a thermometer that can measure your baby’s temperature in seconds. Being a parent is hard enough without tormenting with a thermometer that is hard to use.
Any thermometer that has contact with your baby will need to be cleaned after use. An easy to clean thermometer will ease your work. Avoid thermometers that have striations or patterns where grime and microbes can accumulate.
Suited to the Situation
Choose a baby thermometer that suits your present situation. You will not be able to put a thermometer in your baby’s ear if it has an ear infection. In the same way, you can not use a rectal thermometer if your baby is irritated from diapers.
Because of the many types of baby thermometers available, you should always have at hand a suitable thermometer for your situation.
The problem of reading speed is not as important as in the past. Most baby thermometers models and types should precisely measure the temperature in less than 10 seconds.
Be careful to purchase a thermometer to display values in the measurement system you are familiar with. If you choose a model in America, you may see that it displays your temperature in Fahrenheit degrees that are very difficult to quickly convert to Celsius.
You best choose a thermometer that allows you to choose units of measurement between the Metric and the Imperial system.
Some baby thermometer models can connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth. They come with an application that allows you to record and monitor your baby’s temperature over time through intuitive graphs (like a fitness bracelet).
Although it is not an essential function, the ability to measure and record your baby’s temperature can be an exciting function for technology-loving parents.
Other Features of Baby Thermometers
The features and functions below fall under the “It’s good to have” category. Although not the most important features of a baby thermometer, it will certainly enhance the ease and comfort of measuring your baby’s temperature.
- A generous screen – A larger screen helps you read the temperature easily.
- Lighted screen – An illuminated screen lets you read your baby’s temperature even in the dark. It is very useful when you take the temperature in the middle of the night and do not want to turn on the light so that it does not awaken the baby.
- Completion Alert – A completion alert is a sound (like a beep or buzz) that informs you that the thermometer has finished the measurement.
- Memory – A baby thermometer with memory function will allow you to see the latest measurements. Very useful for monitoring fever from day to day.
- Temperature warning – The thermometer screen may change colour to warn you if your baby’s temperature is too low or too high.
All these extra features that ease and improve user experience will add percentages at the end price of the thermometer.
Types of Baby Thermometers
Below we take a look at the main types of baby thermometers and the benefits and disadvantages of each of them.
Rectal Baby Thermometers
A rectal baby thermometer measures its temperature by inserting it into the anus. Turn the baby over on his belly and insert the thermometer gently.
Rectal baby thermometer is by far the most accurate type of thermometer. This is not due to the thermometer or region where you insert the thermometer. The child’s rectal temperature is the closest to the internal temperature in his or her body. Measuring the temperature with this method gives you the most accurate indication of your fetus or if your baby has high fever or not.
Rectal thermometers are similar in appearance. They consist of a probe, a on / off button and a digital display mounted on the handle. The display shows the temperature level.
However, rectal thermometers have a disadvantage: they can shock the baby due to insertion into the anus. If you opt for a rectal thermometer, choose a model that has a generous base and a flexible head. In this way, avoid accidents by which you introduce it too deep. Too deep insertion of a rectal thermometer can cause serious harm to your baby. And do not forget to wash well and disinfect the thermometer after each use.
Rectal thermometers are cheap and very accurate. But there is also the type of thermometer with the highest failure rate. Any mother will tell you that she has at least a defective rectal thermometer at home.
Very good for the baby
Conclusion: If you are looking for a precise method of measuring your baby’s temperature, a rectal thermometer is the ideal choice, even if it can create comfort problems.
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Infrared Baby Thermometers
Infrared thermometers (also known as forehead thermometers) are among the newest types of thermometers available on the market. Using infrared light these thermometers can measure baby’s temperature without touching him/her.
Let’s take a look at the last sentence: the infrared thermometer measures the child’s temperature without touching him/her. We know very well that a sick baby is usually very agitated. Measuring its remote temperature can be a blessing.
Infrared baby thermometers are very precise and a very popular option for many parents.
The only disadvantage of this type of baby thermometers is that they are the most expensive available on the market. If your budget is limited, you better focus on another type of thermometer.
No need to touch the baby
Very easy to use
Conclusion: Infant infrared thermometers are a non-touch way to measure baby’s temperature, but come at a fairly high price compared to other types of baby thermometers.
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Baby Ear Thermometers
A popular choice of parents everywhere is ear thermometers. As you may have guessed, the ear thermometer sensor is inserted into the ear canal and provides a precise measurement. The sensor measures the infrared waves of heat emitted by the baby’s eardrum.
Ear thermometers are most often used in hospitals. They are fast, safe and, most importantly, do not create a discomfort for the baby.
It is necessary to learn to use the ear thermometers correctly because it is difficult to position the thermometer in an optimal position after it has been inserted into the ear. An incorrect position will not provide a precise measurement. But you will quickly learn the correct positioning and you will have a quick and accurate measuring tool for your baby’s temperature.
Unfortunately, ear thermometers may not be suitable for babies less than 6 months due to the ear canal that is still in development and which is usually too narrow to insert the thermometer sensor.
It is also important to know that a too large amount of wax in the baby’s ear can result in an imprecise reading of its temperature.
Very precise measurement
Cannot be used until 6-12 months
You must learn the correct positioning
Conclusion: An efficient, fast and easy to use thermometer.
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Underarm Baby Thermometers
As the name suggests, this type of thermometer is used to measure the temperature of the baby at the axillary underarm region. By touching the baby’s skin, this thermometer measures and displays its body temperature.
As you probably imagine, it’s quite difficult to place and hold a thermometer under the arm of a sick and irritated baby. Baby underarm thermometers are generally used when you can not measure your baby’s temperature by other methods.
Underarm thermometers are the most imprecise method of measuring a baby’s temperature due to the fact that the measurement is external. The temperature from the armpit can vary by up to two times the internal temperature of the body.
Due to poor precision, many parents use underarm thermometers for a general idea and then use a rectal thermometer in case the baby feels high fever. The first step is to measure the temperature with the underarm thermometer, and if it is higher than 37 degrees Celsius, a rectal thermometer is used to find out the real temperature of the small one. By this method parents ensure that the baby will not have to suffer because of the insertion of the rectal thermometer every time they want to monitor their temperature.
A tip: Ignore the thermometers that says “specially designed to measure underarm temperature” because this is just a marketing trick to inflate the price. You can use any normal thermometer available in pharmacies to measure the temperature at the armpit.
Another thing to keep in mind when using the underarm thermometer is to make sure that the baby’s skin is dry, because sweating can influence the temperature displayed by the thermometer.
Can be used for fast monitoring
Hard to use on an agitated baby
Conclusion: Can best be used as monitoring thermometers due to the fact that they can not provide accurate measurement.
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Universal Baby Thermometers
These are standard thermometers that you can find at any pharmacy or children’s store. They are cheap and easy to find, can be used to measure rectal, oral, or subcutaneous temperature.
Although a universal thermometer can be used to measure baby’s temperature in different parts of the body, it will be more difficult to use than a thermometer designed specifically for that area. For example, a universal thermometer may be accidentally inserted too deeply into the child’s anus causing wounds. Special rectal thermometers can not be inserted too deep due to a thicker handle.
If you use a universal thermometer, we recommend that you measure only a certain area of the body with the same thermometer. Under no circumstances should you use the thermometer to measure oral temperature if it has been previously used in the rectal area.
Safety of Baby Thermometers
Let’s take a quick look at the safety measures you need to take when using a baby thermometer.
Throw the mercury thermometer
Do you remember the old glass thermometers, where the level of silver liquid inside indicates the temperature? If you do not remember, they looked like this:
That silver liquid is mercury and very dangerous. Mercury thermometers were made of thin glass and could easily break. But not the glass fragments are the dangerous part, but the inner mercury that is a very powerful neurotoxin (a poison that affects the nervous system).
In children exposed to mercury there have been observed affections that affect thinking, language, memory, attention and alteration of motor functions and visual orientation in space. Mercury is extremely dangerous and you should keep it as far as possible from your growing baby. Completely avoid using a mercury thermometer!
Clean the thermometer well after use!
Whether you use it in the butt, mouth or ear of the little one, or simply touching the skin, you will need to clean the thermometer completely after each use. Regular cleaning prevents accumulation of microbes and bacteria. You do not want your baby to get sick due to a dirty thermometer.
Last update on 2021-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API