Many people might think that using a thermometer is just as easy as learning ABC but for first time parents, it can be a little confusing. They might get confused on which thermometer to use and how to use it.

thermometer basics

Types of Thermometer

There are different kinds of thermometers which can be utilized at home for the entire family. The regular digital thermometer can be directly placed in the armpit, in the mouth and in the rectum. It is built with electronic heat sensors which records the heat or body temperature. It is advisable to use separate thermometers for rectal and oral use. The temporal artery thermometer and the digital pacifier thermometer are made with infrared scanner that measures the heat in the artery of the forehead. Tympanic thermometers or the digital ear thermometers have infrared ray that detects the heat inside the ear canal. For most homes, the regular digital thermometer is preferred by mothers.

Accuracy of Temperature Readings

Of course, all parents would preferably want the closest prognosis of their child temperature. For infants, rectal readings are the most accurate, while the ear thermometers can be used for older children. The only drawback for ear thermometer is the accuracy of its temperature readings might be shortchanged due to curved ear canal and earwax. The reliability of thermometers for temporal artery has yet to be verified, while the armpit thermometer is considered to be the least accurate of all.

There are times when you do not have the luxury of choosing which temperature to use. In this case, all you have to do is to make sure that you have read the instructions and employed safety measures such as, making sure that the th is in place and never leaving your child while you are taking the temperature.

Different Thermometers for Different Age Groups

The kind of thermometer to be used and where to place it basically depends on the age of a child.

  • Birth to 3 months – Newborns are delicate and vulnerable, hence, it is recommended that a regular digital thermometer used. With some petroleum jelly, lubricate the tip of the thermometer after turning it on. Lay your baby on his back while lifting his thighs. Upon lifting slowly insert the lubricated thermometer into your baby’s rectum. If the baby shows resistance, you need to stop. For about a minute, hold the thermometer in place until the signal shows that it is done. Gradually remove the thermometer and read the temperature.
  • 3 months to 4 years – The digital pacifier thermometer, digital ear thermometer or the temporal artery thermometer can be used for toddlers and older infants. Carefully follow the indicated instructions on the label and execute them accordingly. For armpit thermometers, ensure that the it has contact with your child’s skin, and not his clothes.
  • 4 years and older – For this age group, you may choose to use the digital thermometer. You may even let your child hold the thermometer under his tongue. Ask the child to close their mouth and lips. It is best to take your child’s temperature 15 minutes after the he or she is done eating or drinking.