We spent over 63 hours researching and testing 37 different types of baby thermometers and found that accuracy, ease of application, and ease of cleaning were most important. The Innovo Baby Thermometer scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. This quality baby thermometer can be used from infancy to adulthood so it works for every member of the family. It covers both ear usage and forehead usage. The readings are reliable and accurate so you know that the readings you’re getting can be trusted. It has a 20 reading memory recall and is easy to clean as well.
Baby Thermometer Comparison
|Battery||2 AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA||AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA|
|Accuracy||± 0.4℉||± 0.4℉||± 0.4℉||± 0.4℉||± 0.4℉||± 0.7℉||± 0.3℉||± 0.4℉||± 0.1℉||± 0.6℉|
Baby Thermometer Buying Guide
What is a Baby Thermometer?
During the first year of your baby’s life, it is likely that they will get sick and run a fever. Little babies can’t tell you when they don’t feel well or if they feel hot so you need to rely on other methods to monitor their health. One way to do this is with a baby thermometer.
A baby thermometer will help parents determine if their little ones are running a fever and if so, how high it is. Fevers can be dangerous if they are left unattended especially in infants younger than 3 months of age.
By having a reliable baby thermometer, you will know exactly what your baby’s temperature is and will be able to decide whether they need to go to the doctor.
Types of Baby Thermometer
There are a lot of different models and types of baby thermometers on the market. We have outlined each type below. Almost all thermometers are able to be used by people of any age even if they are called baby thermometers.
Rectal Thermometers – These are still the most accurate way to get a precise temperature reading for your child. They are definitely not the most popular or chosen method for taking a baby or child’s temperature but they provide the most accurate result.
You will want to be sure that the any rectal thermometers you have on hand are kept thoroughly cleaned and not be subject to cracking or damaging. You also want to purchase one that has a flexible tip and wide base so the thermometer is not inserted too far which can cause damage to your child.
Forehead Thermometers – Forehead thermometers, also called temporal artery thermometers, are the newest style to come onto the market. They are more expensive than other types of baby thermometers. Forehead thermometers use infrared rays to scan and measure the temperature of the temporal artery.
You don’t even have to touch the thermometer to your child’s head to take this temperature, which makes it great for using throughout the night or during naps when your child is sleeping. Forehead thermometers are the safest and most accurate on the market.
They are also very popular in hospitals due to the convenience and the fact that they reduce cross contamination since they don’t actually touch the child. When they first came out, they were used on children aged 3 months and younger.
After more research was done, those studies showed that forehead thermometers can be used on any age and they are still accurate. It is recommended to double check the forehead thermometer’s reading with a rectal temp on children younger than 3 months of age for safety sake.
Ear Canal Thermometers– Another popular option for taking a child’s temperature is the ear canal style. This style takes the temperature very quickly and gives a fairly accurate temp for children over a year old.
They have to be put into the ear in exactly the right place or they will not provide an accurate reading that you can count on. Ear canals in children under a year old are not very wide at all, so the ear canal thermometer is not a good option for that under one year age group.
Oral Thermometers – Oral thermometers are common and are just fine for adults and older kids who are able to properly keep the thermometer under the tongue where it needs to go. For young children, oral baby thermometers can be a real challenge and they rarely keep it under the tongue so the readings you get may not be accurate. There are digital versions of the oral baby thermometer that enable you to have the device under your tongue for far less time; typically a minute or less.
Pacifier Thermometers – This style sounds great in theory but they are notorious for giving inaccurate readings and are not recommended by pediatricians. It’s better to stick to the other types that described above to ensure that you are getting the most accurate reading available for your child’s health and safety.
Under the Arm Thermometers – This type of thermometer is used under the arm of the child. It is easy to use, but the accuracy is not the same as rectal, ear or forehead thermometers, so it is recommended to use the other choices first.
How to Clean a Baby Thermometer
Whether you just have one child or several, it is important that you clean it properly after every use before it is put away. You will also need to clean it before every use. If you have a digital or electronic baby thermometer you will not be able to immerse it in water to clean it but there are still good, sanitary ways to ensure your child’s safety.
- Soap and Water – You can use soap and water to wash the tip of the thermometer that came in contact with your child’s mouth, ear, under arm or rectum. Wipe it carefully with a cloth soaked in warm soapy water, then dry.
- Alcohol Wipe Down – After you have wiped down the tip with warm soapy water, take 70% isopropyl alcohol and wipe it down again. Before outing it in your child’s mouth, be sure to rinse the baby thermometer off.
- Rinse and Dry – After the above two steps have been done, rinse the baby thermometer in clear, cold water and either wipe dry or let it air dry in a safe place. Do NOT cap the thermometer before it is dry so mold or mildew does not form. Do not rinse the thermometer with hot water.
Baby Thermometer Safety Tips
Following safety practices when using a baby thermometer is very important to the health of your child. Be sure to follow these tips to reduce any occurrences that could injure your child. Mercury thermometers are not used anymore, but if you encounter an old fashioned glass thermometer, it is better to use it for decoration somewhere safe, such as in an enclosed glass display case, rather than using it for your child at all. The mercury is very dangerous.
- Never use ONE thermometer for both oral and rectal use – Even if you are conscientious about cleaning your thermometer, it is never recommended to use one thermometer for both oral and rectal temp taking. Since thermometers are typically inexpensive, it is recommended to purchase one for oral (or forehead or ear) and one for ONLY rectal use to avoid any chance of contamination.
- No moving around – When you are taking your child’s temperature they need to be sitting or lying down and not moving. Never put the baby thermometer in the child’s mouth or rectum and leave them room.
- Take rectal temperatures carefully – When taking a rectal temp it is very important that you use Vaseline to lubricate the end and only insert it 1 to 1 ½”. NEVER force it past any type of resistance as this can cause damage to the child. Have the child lay very still until the allotted time has passed. After making note of the temperature, immediately clean the rectal thermometer and out away.
When to Get Further Medical Treatment
As a parent, if there is ANY reason you think you should call the doctor, do so. It is better to be safe than miss a potential serious problem. How do you know your child is running a fever?
- If the forehead, ear or rectal temperature is 100.4 F or higher
- If they have and oral temperature of 100 F or higher
- If they have an armpit temperature of 99 F or higher. (Note: arm pit temperature readings are the faultiest. If you use this method, you will want to get a second reading from a different method to verify.
It is recommended that the doctor be called in the event of the following circumstances.
- If your baby is less than 3 months old and you are getting a rectal temperature, if it is over 100.4 F call your doctor right away. Higher temperatures are much more dangerous for young infants.
- When you child is 3-6 months of age, if they run a fever that is 102 F you will need to call your doctor.
- From 6-24 months of age, you want to ensure that they’re fever is not above 102 F for longer than 1 day and shows no other signs of potential problems such as diarrhea, coughing or a lot of congestion. If any of these other signs are present, it is best to contact your pediatrician for further instructions.
Having a good quality, reliable baby thermometer in your house at all times ensures that in the event of illness, you have a tool that will let you know what is going on with your body’s temperature. It is a necessary, must have product that needs to be kept in a safe place for whenever you need it.
With all of the choices available on the market, you may be wondering which the best one for you is. The best thermometer for your home is the one that does everything you need it to in a fast, efficient way. What also determine the best baby thermometer for your home are the needs you have. The age of your child, how easy they are to work with when they are sick, etc are all factors that can help you narrow down your choices and make the buying process much simpler.