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Thermometers

Friday, 29 February 2008

Checking a fever is an important part of monitoring illness in both children and adults. We find out more about buying a reliable home-use thermometer.

   BUYING TIPS

The Basics

  • There are different types of thermometers available to consumers:

    • Glass-mercury were the original thermometers, but due to environmental and health concerns over mercury, they have become less popular, though no less accurate.

    • Electronic probes can be used orally, rectally, or in an axillary position (e.g. the armpit). They have a plastic, flexible probe with a temperature sensor tip and a digital read-out.

    • Electronic ear thermometers measure the temperature inside the ear canal. They tend to give falsely low readings and are not recommended for use in children under 12 months old.

    • Plastic strips that adhere to the forehead (good for kids) can detect a fever, but don’t actually take a reading. They only work on surface temperature, not internal temperature, which is more important.

  • If you have children, choose a thermometer based on the age of your child:

    • Use a rectal thermometer for 3 years old and younger

    • Oral thermometers are good for kids aged 4 and up.

    • Axillary (in the armpit) models are acceptable for babies 3 months and over, but not as accurate as a rectal reading.

    • Ear thermometers are best for children 12 months and over, but they are not always accurate.

Be Aware

  • Babies under 6 months old with a fever should see a doctor immediately.

  • Thermometers used rectally should only be used as such, so be sure to label it if you have more than one.

   TEST CRITERIA

We enlisted the help of doctors and nurses at a pediatric medical clinic to test and rate some thermometers:

Accuracy Test

  • The Braun ear scan showed mixed results but were pretty accurate. Our experts noted the key is to aim it as directly at the ear drum as possible.

  • The Timex Acrobat probe thermometer was the most reliable, and its flexible probe was comfortable.

  • The Fever Bugz stick-ons were fun for the kids, but only slightly useful for the doctors and nurses, who had to follow up with a real thermometer for an accurate reading.

   OUR TOP PICK

The Timex Acrobat, with its flexible probe, was the most accurate thermometer, and was comfortable for the kids to use.

 

 

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  • Rae

    Did you do another episode in regards to thermometers? I remember watching one, but I was thinking an external thermometer won the votes (and it may have been a drugstore brand). I’m needing one at the moment and I thought I’d try it out but I can’t remember which brand it was! Thanks