Good Digital Thermometer?

Updated on June 29, 2008
M.N. asks from Sherman Oaks, CA
4 answers

I've been through three, and they're not cheap. None have been accurate according to my pediatrician's thermometer. The one I have now is too big to fit in my 16 mth. old's ear so I had to do the rectal which went over like a ton of bricks. I'm looking for something with preferably an ear insert, small enough for an infant and with a quick read out.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My doctor uses the one that scans over the forehead. I think it is called the arterial thermoscan. He says they are very accurate. You can get it on line.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

Here's an easy and inexpensive way: get a good oral digital thermometer and take the temperature in the armpit. (Called axillary temperature). Yes, it does take longer (about 3 min), but I used to hold my kids snuggly around the shoulders so the thermometer wouldn't slip and read to them until a final reading was reached. You need to add 1 degree to the final reading and this will give pretty consistent results as compared to taking the temp. under the tongue. The method also works great for older kids (and adults!) when their noses are too stuffy to allow taking an oral temp. Personally, I always found the ear thermometers difficult to use. You have to get the angle just right and you'll get inconsistent and unreliable results if there's an ear infection or any other kind of irritation that is causing inflamation in the ear. (Plus, it's a more painful way of taking temp. in those situations.)

As far as accuracy, unless you have a child with specialized needs, any home thermometer is good enough for tracking rise and fall of temp. over time, which is what you really want to do. It's not necessary to completely match the Dr's thermometer. You want to get one that is accurate to within 1 order of magnitude more than the read out it gives, for example, if your thermometer gives a read out to the 1/10 degree (e.g., 98.6 deg F), you want accuracy to 1/100 (e.g., 98.63 deg F). You also want one that is reliable up to at least 108 deg F (42 deg C), but you should be heading to the ER long before a temperature rises that high (by 104 - 106 deg F, 40 -41 deg C).



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
I've been using the Braun Thermoscan ear thermometer since my son was born - he's almost 6 now. I've been happy with it. It does give 2 different readings in each ear but it's close enough to figure out if your child has a fever or not. Unfortunately, rectal will always be the most acurate but it's not worth going through the fighting....

Good luck



answers from Los Angeles on

We recently got a temporal artery thermometer - super easy forehead scan and sooo much more accurate than our old digital. They sell for about $30 online from Walmart:

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