3-In-1 Child's Thermometer - Really?

Updated on February 05, 2013
T.T. asks from Baltimore, MD
15 answers

Both my kids are sick - ugh. I realized that the only thermometers I had in the house were the rectal ones we used when they were babies, so their dad picked up a new one at the store. It's billed as a "3-in-1," meaning you can use it orally, rectally, or under their arms.

Am I the only one grossed out by the idea of using the same thermometer both orally AND rectally? I felt like our other thermometers made it clear in the instructions to choose one method or the other for each individual thermometer, but the instructions on this one make it sound like they can be used interchangeably. Do people really do that? I mean, obviously you sterilize it between uses, but still. Ick.

Am I being needlessly prissy about this?

(I'm still going to designate this thermometer the "oral" one, but just curious what other people do. :) )

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answers from Washington DC on


When I used the thermometers rectally - I had the protective covers on it. So I would not have a problem with using it orally, as it NEVER went into the body like that.

I also use alcohol wipes on it each and every time I have used a thermometer.

i can see where you are coming from though. There are people who DO NOT "think" about what they are doing...and it can lead to yucky things....there was a young mother I knew from when working at a day care to clean the thermometer after each use....she thought the germs would just die on there...that's EEEWW!!!

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answers from New York on

i only use braun ear thermometer

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

Did the thermomether come with some plastic sheaves? I bought a thermometer once that did. When I asked about it, I was told by the pharmacist that was so that the thermometer could be used rectally. Okay, makes sense. But when I ran out of the plastic sheaves, I quit using the thermometer rectally (and I'd barely even used it that way, and only when my daughter was a baby because the readings are better). I wouldn't use it bare and then stick it, say, in the mouth. Even after sterializing it with hot water and/or alcohol. Uh-ha. But that's just me.

Different germs in different places. Also, waste products out of rectum. Just don't think putting something there should also go in the mouth. So you're not being prissy, you're being smart.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Watch the movie Idiocracy, you will be cracking up over this question.

Our thermometer is the 'pit' thermometer, meaning I only use it in the kids armpits. My husband uses it in his mouth though, usually without washing it with soap first. Its really disgusting. And yes, he knows its the armpit thermometer.

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answers from El Paso on

Well TECHNICALLY, any standard thermometer could be used as any of the three, but yeah, hopefully not interchangeably!

If you WERE to use it interchangeably, you can buy covers for rectal use, but I'm not sure that would be enough for me to be willing to use it orally....

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answers from Los Angeles on

Yah, I'm with you on this one - I always had one for the baby, rectally and another to use orally for the rest of the family!

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answers from Rochester on

I only ever use our thermometer in my children's armpits, and then I add a degree to the final result. This provides an accurate reading, provided your thermometer works. I have never felt the need to shove something up my child's hind end...for cripes sake, if they have a high fever, you can feel it with your hand. Why the need for invasive action? The ideal of rectal temperatures PERIOD makes me sick. SO freaking unnecessary. Seriously. If a child has a dangerous high fever, that can be told just as easily with an axillary reading.

I don't think you're being needlessly prissy. I imagine you are supposed to pick one method and stick with it, or use a thermometer cover for each reading, but yup, it's a gross idea.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I suspect they mean you can use it any of the three ways. BUT you pick one and then stick with it for the particular thermometer. Of course you could use it orally and then in a pinch use it rectally for an infant - but then it is forever a rectal thermometer.

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answers from Detroit on

Umm, if it's new in the package, it doesn't matter which way you use it, as long as you use it the same way each time. It only means you can be used either way THE FIRST TIME - obviously you would not use it any other way after using it rectally! But maybe some people need even that part spelled out for them!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would never use a thermometer that was used rectally anywhere else. I think they do it because not everyone can afford to buy new thermometers all the time and rectal is really the best way to go with an infant. All that said, I absolutely got new ones when we passed the rectal stage.

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answers from Miami on

Funny! That's kind of the thought that crossed my mind just BEFORE your new paragraph that mentioned it!

I never used any thermometer for my kids that wasn't specifically a rectal thermometer when I needed a rectal read.. (If their temp seems to be bouncing all over the place in a small amount of time, that's what the ER docs do - they get a rectal reading. I learned that when my son was sick in the hospital.) The other types I only used orally and under the arm (you add a degree under the arm.)

I don't consider you to be prissy about it, to be honest. I do think that it's just a better policy to keep the two kinds totally separate.




answers from Appleton on

I prefered taking temps under arms instead of rectally. I understood how to do it but I was afraid I would hurt them, so I did it under the arm. Just be sure to add a degree for an underarm temp and subtract a degree for rectal temp.

And yes any thermometer can be used for all 3 as long as the tip is bulb shaped and not pointy.


answers from Washington DC on

You are so no being prissy! Keep one for pit use & one just for rectal use. Put them in ziploc bag labeled so DH doesnt interchange them :)



answers from Portland on

I've had a 3 way thermometer and used it both orally and rectally. What difference does it make? I sterilize it after each use with alcohol. You feed yourself with your hands and you wipe yourself with your hands. Of course you wash in between. I don't see what the big deal is. LOL



answers from Anchorage on

they don't mean to use that one for all, they mean that one can be used for any of the 3. Personally I prefer the ones you just run along their forehead, I get more accurate readings then you do orally or under the arm, and they are faster.

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