The Essential Guide to Thermometers

As a parent it’s hard not to worry when your baby is unwell, particularly if they are showing signs of a fever. Your baby can only give you an indication that something isn’t quite right, so it’s important to be able to decipher quickly and accurately if your baby is ill. For that reason, a baby thermometer should be a staple in your medical kit.

There are a variety of thermometers available which measure temperature in different parts of the body. Some thermometers are easier to use, while others can give a more accurate temperature reading, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which baby thermometer is the best option for you. Smart Thermometers allow you to continually monitor your baby’s temperature without disturbing their sleep. To help weigh up your options, here are some of the most common types of thermometers and their pros and cons!

Continuous Temperature monitor

Oral Thermometers

Oral thermometers are held in the mouth, usually under the tongue, to give you a temperature reading and are generally quite accurate. However, they are not suitable for children under five years and are a better choice for older children.

Ear Thermometers 

These are a popular choice as they are quick and easy to use. Ear thermometers can be tricky if you don’t know how to insert them correctly, so be sure to read the instructions and learn the right way to use yours.

Forehead Thermometers

Forehead thermometers use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the temporal artery on a baby’s forehead. They don’t make contact with the skin so can be less distressing for young children. They are so accurate (and provide the least chance of cross contamination) that many hospitals use them to check patients of all ages. [2]

Rectal Thermometers

These types of thermometer are the most accurate way to check a baby’s temperature which is very important for new-borns. The downside is that they can be uncomfortable and stressful for the child. [2] Look for one that gives a fast reading and is easy to clean, as well as having a flexible tip and safety guard. If you’re worried about using a rectal thermometer, be sure to check with a paediatrician first so they can advise you on how to use it correctly.

Armpit Thermometers

Armpit thermometers take an external temperature reading. To use this type of thermometer, simply hold the thermometer securely under your baby’s armpit, making sure that the thermometer makes contact with the skin and not your baby’s clothing. The benefit of armpit thermometers is that they are an affordable and non-invasive option, however, it can be difficult to hold the thermometer in place and get an accurate reading with a wriggling baby.

Whichever baby thermometer you decide to invest in, look for products with a large screen and a backlit display so that it’s easy to read the result even if it’s dark in the middle of the night, for example.  Remember to clean your thermometer after each use and store it away safely for next use.

Smart Thermometers (App-Based)

Smart Thermometers, such as the Nurofen FeverSmart Temperature Monitor, involve a small sticker or wearable patch being placed against your baby’s skin (usually close to the chest and underarm). The patch is then synced to an app on your smart phone, allowing you to monitor your baby’s temperature continuously and accurately over a period of time.

Many mums find it useful to make a note of the time and temperature when their baby has a fever; the Nurofen FeverSmart Temperature Monitor can track this for you. This is especially useful during the night as it means you can check your baby’s temperature without having to disturb their sleep.

One of the big benefits of the Nurofen FeverSmart Temperature Monitor is that since it tracks your baby’s temperature continuously, you’ll receive a notification on your phone if your baby’s temperature is too high, giving you peace of mind.  It is still advisable to check on your baby in person throughout the day on night as usual, and to visit your doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s fever.