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Choosing the Best Baby Thermometer

Vicks baby thermometerSo many baby and child thermometers are out there. How do you know which one is best? Here are the views of some experts - and generally they recommend digital.

According to a Yale Medical Group advisory:

Most physicians recommend taking a baby's temperature rectally, by placing a thermometer in the baby's anus. [NB: Pictured is the Vicks Rectal Baby Thermometer.] This method is accurate and gives a quick reading of the baby's internal temperature. Axillary (underarm) temperature measurements must be held in place for 10 minutes. Skin strips that are pressed on the skin to measure temperature are not recommended for babies. Touching a baby's skin can let you know if he/she is warm or cool but you cannot measure body temperature simply by touch.

...You should use an electronic digital thermometer to take your baby's temperature. Do not use a mercury in glass thermometer.

A report (no longer online) by KUTV in Salt Lake City said:

Dr. [Rachel] Baar says your best bet is a digital thermometer. There are oral and rectal versions; rectal is the most accurate measurement for babies.

...Taking a temperature under the arm won't give you an accurate reading but an oral reading is reliable if your child is old enough to sit still.

“The trouble is you need to leave it in their mouth for 2 minutes so you need a kid 4-5 years old who will not bite down and leave it in there for a couple of minutes so you can get an accurate reading,”

A survey by Consumer Reports (no longer online) found:

The $10 Accu-Beep digital thermometer from BD did the best job. It beeps when properly placed under the tongue and gives an accurate reading in sixty seconds.

If you want a thermometer reading even faster, Consumer Reports found two other very good performers that cost $13. They are the Vick's Comfort-Flex and Omron 20 Seconds Digital. Both thermometers will give a reading in 30 seconds or less.

The Baby Center website wrote:

Digital thermometers are very accurate, fast, and inexpensive. You get a reading in about 30 seconds — a real advantage with a sick and wiggling baby. You can use them rectally or under the armpit. They beep when they're done and are easy to read. On the downside, they become less accurate if dropped, and the batteries can expire at a crucial time.

Finally, if you are tempted to buy one of the new non-contact thermometers, heed the following (humorous) warning from the Vermont Times Argus:

When I was a growing up, if you were feeling sick, one of your parental units would approach you with a little glass rod, jam it in your mouth, and attempt to bore a hole through the soft tissue under your tongue with the blunt end of the instrument. Once they were satisfied that the rod was sufficiently implanted in your head, they would leave for seven to ten days, and return to retrieve the thermometer only after your jaw locked up and you forgot all about not feeling good.

...With the "gentle, non-invasive" Sensor Touch Temple Thermometer, a parent waits until the child is asleep, and then points a telephone-sized implement at the little one's forehead, where a light stroke measures the body temperature. I don't know how you feel about this, but to me it smacks a bit of "Big Mother."

I think I'd rather suffer a little discomfort with the old method than have to worry about someone sneaking up on me while I'm deep in slumber and shooting me in the head with a laser beam. I suspect that I won't have to worry for long about this innovative breakthrough in home medical care. Eventually the American Civil Liberties Union will raise a stink on behalf of the ailing children of the world who feel that their right to privacy is violated by parental use of this instrument.

* Get More Information and the Latest Prices on Baby Thermometers.

March 14th, 2007
Updated: November 7th, 2007



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