Feature Archive

Thermometers: A Parent's Guide

Thermometers

WebMD Feature

It used to be easy for parents to choose a thermometer: They only had one choice! But on today's market, there are many types and price ranges from which to choose. They all do the job, but choosing the best one for your child's age and temperament will make the task of getting a reading accurate, easy and quick.

Mercury and Glass

It used to be the only choice in town, but don't scoff at this old-fashioned thermometer. Accurate and economical, the big drawback here is the time it takes to get a reading: three minutes both orally and rectally. Breakage is also a problem, so handle with care.

Age group:

Rectal type, under 3
Oral type, 3 and up

Cost: 3 to 5 dollars

Underarm Thermometer

Easy to use, this thermometer is held in the armpit for a few seconds. This method is user-friendly and is accurate if kept firmly under the arm for the time required. Good for children who won't tolerate oral or rectal readings.

Age group: Birth and up

Cost: 12 to 50 dollars, depending on model

Pacifier Thermometer

An easy solution if your toddler resists using a regular thermometer. This clever thermometer is hidden in a pacifier nipple. The reading takes three minutes and to be accurate the thermometer should stay in the child's firmly closed mouth for the entire three minutes.

Age group: 1 to 3 years