Baby A’s First Fever – What Type of Thermometer Do You Use For an Infant?

June 11, 2012 at 9:03 PM 12 comments

On Sunday morning my little 7 month old baby boy woke up with a fever. His little body was unbelievably hot to the touch, so I stripped off all of his clothes and tried to cool him off with a wet washcloth. Before applying the towel to his skin I grabbed two different thermometers and attempted to take his temperature.

The first is an inexpensive thermometer that can be used under his arm. That’s the way the nurses took his temperature at the hospital. (It’s actually the very same one they used on his first day in this world.)

The second is an expensive temporal thermometer that is supposed to work with just a swipe of the forehead. It’s not invasive and it provides a reading within seconds.

The problem is both devices had their problems. The first took forever to register a reading and I had to try to occupy my very active baby boy with one hand while trying to keep the thermometer in place with the other. It wasn’t an easy task, but the final temperature seemed to be accurate.

The temporal thermometer wouldn’t work for me at all. Every time I swiped that little device across his forehead it registered a different number. I tried it on myself and found the same problem. I read the directions over and over to make certain I was holding down the button for the appropriate amount of time, pressing it against the right part of the head, etc, but no matter what I did I received a different temperature every time.

I’ve thought about buying an ear thermometer. I even asked the nurse at the doctor’s office what kind they use and whether or not it would be worth purchasing. The price is somewhere between $35 and $40 for one with good reviews on Amazon.

While this is Baby A’s first fever I know it certainly won’t be his last, so I’d really like to find a device that works quickly and accurately and isn’t nearly impossible to use with a fussy, fidgeting baby.

I know a lot of moms read this blog. If you have any suggestions on what you’ve used for your little ones PLEASE leave me a comment.

Entry filed under: health. Tags: .

Link Love on a Sunday Afternoon Review: The Artist’s Way Toolkit

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Heather  |  June 11, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    I mostly rely on the inside of my wrist and observation. The actual number isn’t as important as we’re led to believe 🙂

    The temporal thermometer gets my vote when I want to know how high. It gets easier with practice. If you hold the button down, swipe forehead, hold it behind an ear, let go of button, it seems to work more consistently. The instruction book mentions how to do the ear thing.

  • 2. Clare Chatfield  |  June 12, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    I have an ear thermometer that I bought more than 13 years ago for probably about the same cost you’re looking at. (Kids are almost 14 and 11 1/2.) Have used it dozens and dozens of times over the years. (Older child was prone to high fevers as a baby and toddler.) Still works great. Know nothing about temporal thermometers.

  • 3. Simple island living  |  June 12, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    We use a temporal one and the underarm one as backup if I misplaced the other. I like them both, actually. The underarm does take more time though, so as he gets older it’s definitely harder.

  • 4. Patti  |  June 12, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    My kids are grown with kids of their own. I’ve always used rectal thermometers on infants. They are the only way to get a truly accurate reading. The digital thermometers only take a few seconds to get a reading. Just place a little bit of vaseline on the tip for easiest insertion.

  • 5. SarahA  |  June 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    With a squirmy baby who hates things in her ear, I’ve just done under the arm. I think the ear is more accurate but I found it easier to hold her arm down than her head still. We also got a pacifier thermometer which is really awesome but it takes 2 minutes to register so she keeps taking it out of her mouth. I find that if she will keep it in, she’s really sick. I also use it at night a lot.

    • 6. Jo Cruse  |  June 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      The pacifier thermometer is awesome, takes 90 seconds to read baby’s temp and when they don’t feel good they don’t normally mind sucking on something. There is also a Forehead IR thermometer you can use for the whole family. You just need to aim it at the forehead and it will read out on LCD display. Very hygenic, because nothing actually touches body.

  • 7. Justin @ The Family Finances  |  June 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    We have a 14 month old and have an ear thermometer. It’s worked well for us, and we’ve never had any issues with it. Though we’ve been lucky. The only times ours has had a fever has been after getting shots, and they never lasted very long.

  • 8. Katie  |  June 13, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    My pediatrician has said that they want you to take the temp rectally for infants. In fact if you call them and have taken it a different way, they ask you to retake it rectally. I’ve got a thermometer that has several different “heads” that you can plug into it: rectal, underarm or mouth. It seems to do the job.

  • 9. One Frugal Girl  |  June 14, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Well it seems I caught the same bug as my son. It feels like the plague embarked upon my home and I’m just starting to feel better today. I used to be able to lay in bed all day, eat chicken noodle soup and wait to get better, but not with a little one at home. I had no idea how difficult it can be to deal with being sick while dealing with a sick child!

    Thank you for all of your comments. It seems the ear thermometer gets a vote for when they get a bit bigger, but for now a squirmy infant might need the rectal or underarm approach. I also plan to research the Forehead IR thermometer. It sounds like an interesting invention, but I can’t find many user ratings about it.

  • 10. baby  |  June 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM


    » Baby A’s First Fever – What Type of Thermometer Do You Use For an Infant? One Frugal Girl…

  • 11. Shannon J. Perkins  |  September 29, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    For newborns, many say that rectal thermometer is the best thing to use. But as of now, some are saying that forehead thermometer (infrared) is much preferable. Well, I guess I have to agree because in my experiences, I could say that it is a great thermometer.

  • 12. Beverly Jefferson  |  October 30, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    For me, non-contact infrared forehead thermometer is perfect for your little one. This thermometer allows fast and accurate readings/results without disturbing your child..



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

Follow on Twitter

BlogHer Ads


Coupons Plus Deals



Deal Nerd

Blippr helps you save money on everything with coupon codes, discounts and more.