How to Choose the Right Thermometer for Your Baby

  • Team Kidmish Dec 17, 2018

Your baby is so delicate and fragile, that sometimes during their first year, there is quite a likelihood that, he or she might fall ill. Unfortunately, they have no way of telling us, except crying.

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to your baby’s crying, picking him up and feeling that he’s a little warmer than usual to the touch. Your first guess will be that of a temperature, but how do you ascertain it? You guessed it right a thermometer! And we cannot impress enough on the fact about how essential and handy this little device is when it comes to times like these.

Really, it is the only reliable way to tell for sure if your child is suffering from fever and as a parent, you must keep it in your arsenal.

Types of Thermometers:

As adults, we are used to a stead type of thermometer to measure high fever, that many of you may not know that there are a variety for little babies. There are just so many variants that it can actually be quite confusing as well as intimidating for a new parent to choose the right kind for their little one.

Have no fear, we have a comprehensive guide for you to understand the various kinds of options better and help you make the right decision. So let’s begin with the different types available in the market:

Glass Mercury Thermometer: Perhaps the most commonly known and widely used, a glass mercury one can still be found in many households. As good as it might’ve been, it is no longer recommended for children, as the off chance of it breaking, with the liquid mercury being vaporised and inhaled by your little one is a safety hazard that should not be dabbled with.

Digital Thermometers: The new upgrade to the classic mercury variant, a digital one, is a much safer and less time consuming, and not to mention a quite efficient option. You can use it by placing it in the mouth, armpit or rectum. Generally, for your baby, rectal temperature is considered to be the most accurate and armpit, the least. Whatever method you do choose, digital ones are a fast and efficient bet.

Our Recommendation: This multi-use digital variant by Vicks is quite nifty as it can be used for oral, rectal as well as armpit measuring of fever in children.

Digital Ear Thermometer: If the rectal method of measuring your baby’s temperature is something you’re not on board with. Then another good approach is the digital ear kind. You can put the device in your baby’s ear and check for high fever. One con that has to be mentioned here, is regarding the accuracy of the readings, since the chance of earwax and curving of the ear canal may sometimes interfere with the readings. I

Our Recommendation: If looking for a Digital Ear variant we would recommend you Thermoscan5 by Braun, a brand that you can surely rely on.

Temporal Artery Thermometer: A Temporal Artery Thermometer is said to be probably the quietest and gentlest of all. In fact, it is said to be so quiet that you can use it on a sleeping baby. Non-invasive in nature, it scans your little angel’s forehead to take the temperature reading. However, when it comes to the accuracy test, it still does not match to that of the rectal temperature readings. 

Our Recommendation: Omaron makes some really reliable and cost-efficient Temporal Artery kinds, so you can check them out here.

Rectal Thermometers: Perhaps the most accurate ones, though they may make you cringe in concept and thought; yes, it is a little uncomfortable for the infants, but one cannot deny their accuracy. If you feel that your baby can handle a rectal thermometer, then, make sure that you choose one with a flexible tip and wider base, it will make sure that you do not insert the thermometer too far, which of course can be dangerous.

Our Recommendation: Rectal temperature measuring devices by the brand Safety 1st are a good choice when looking for a reliable baby thermometer.

Axillary Thermometers: Axillary or armpit thermometers are considered to be the least invasive of all the different varieties out there in the market, but then, they are also the least accurate. Generally, considered to be the last resort; if no other method of taking your child’s temperature works, then Axillary thermometers are the way to go.

Pacifier Thermometers: Last but not the least, we have the Pacifier thermometers. As we all know babies love to suck on pacifiers, thus Pacifier variants are designed like a pacifier to measure fever in children, while making them feel comfortable. Though this might seem like an ideal option, however, the accuracy of temperature reading by these thermometers is debatable, hence they are generally not recommended.

Age-Related Guidelines:

From Birth to 3 Months: Multi-use and Rectal variants are generally recommended to measure fever in children of any age, however, they’re quite highly recommended for new-born babies because they give the most accurate reading. If your baby is less than 4 months old, a temperature that is higher than 100.4 degrees, could mean serious infection or illness. So you see the need of getting accurate readings!

Another factor that you must consider if going for a rectal temperature measuring device is to take one with a flexible tip, as they can be uncomfortable for your little one. Most rectal thermometers these days have a wider base to avoid over-insertion. The Multiuse ones, however, may not have a similar design, so do take care when using them.

From 3 Months to 2 Years: For measuring fever in children of this age group, armpit, rectal and digital varieties can be used. In case you want to use a digital ear one then your little one should be older than 6 months of age.

For Kids that are 2 Years of Age or Older: Children above 2 years of age, more often than not protest to rectal thermometers and are more likely to move around, which raises the risk of inaccuracy of reading and sometimes even injury. So if your little one tends to squirm a lot, then maybe rectal or ear variants may not be the best suggestion. You can then go for something like a temporal-artery method to measure your baby’s temperature since it just involves a quick sweep across your child’s forehead.

For Kids that are 4 Years of Age or Older: Since children of this age group can hold digital thermometers under their tongue, hence, digital one become an easy way to go. Though it may take a little while to obtain an oral temperature reading, you can even opt for a digital ear or a temporal artery one for measuring high fever.

Precautionary Safety Measures to Keep in Mind:

  • Read the instructions carefully that come with your choice of device.
  • A soak in hot water will generally increase your little angel’s body temperature, so do not measure fever in kids right after a bath.
  • If you’re using a multi-use variant, then designate it for a specific area only, so as to avoid spreading the bacteria (You can label your devices for such uses, to avoid any confusion)
  • When measuring your child’s temperature, if the surrounding area is too hot, it may also affect the temperature reading so keep that in mind.
  • Always clean the thermometer’s tip with lukewarm water after every use. If you want to clean your thermometer thoroughly you can use rubbing alcohol or soap and then rinse it with cold water.


There you go, with your comprehensive guide to choosing the right baby temperature measuring device for your little angel! Measuring fever in children is the first step to ensure that your baby gets the right care when dealing with illnesses, so make sure that you choose the most appropriate and accurate device for your baby.

For more tips and parenting related queries, flip through our exhaustive repository of articles and discover the world of parenting done right!

Until then Happy Parenting!

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