Finding the Right Thermometer

Nov 08
2016
Finding the right thermometer for your child, whether they’re a newborn or a toddler can be a challenging decision! Having a sick child is stressful enough, so we would like to help make the decision a little easier for you, and provide you with information about the different methods for recording temperature and types of thermometers on the market.

There are three standard methods doctors recommend to measure body temperature: oral, rectal, and axillary. These are the most trusted and accurate forms of temperature taking. Ear, forehead, and skin thermometers might be more convenient, but they can often be incorrect and aren’t recommended for infants


Oral Temperature - An oral reading is taken by mouth, usually with a standard digital stick thermometer. Gone are the days of glass mercury thermometers – you can easily find inexpensive digital stick thermometers for oral readings in any grocery store or pharmacy.

How? An oral reading is taken by placing the thermometer under your child’s tongue, closing their mouth, and keeping it there for up to 30 seconds. To avoid an inaccurate reading, your child should not eat anything hot or cold for about 10 – 15 minutes before taking their temperature. This method of temperature taking is generally not recommended for infants due to the difficulty of getting an accurate reading of a squirmy baby!

Rectal Temperature – A rectal temperature reading is taken, well…by inserting a stick thermometer in the bottom. It is the least pleasant temperature taking method for all parties involved. This method is often recommended for taking the temperature of an infant. While the method is very unpleasant, it is an accurate representation of internal body temperature.

How? As much as we don’t want to talk about it, it’s important you know how to take a proper rectal temperature reading to avoid any discomfort or pain. You must lubricate the tip of the thermometer, then lay your baby on their back and lift their legs as you would when you’re changing their diaper! Then gently insert the thermometer about ½ to 1 inch – but do not force it! Once the thermometer signals it’s done, gently remove and fully sanitize.

Axillary Temperature – An axillary reading is taken under the armpit with a standard stick thermometer or a TempTraq patch. An axillary temperature reading is generally 1 degree lower than an oral reading and with most standard thermometers you have to calculate that difference, but with TempTraq we account for that difference in our temperature readings. A digital stick thermometer is always good to have on hand to quickly check for a fever, but it only records a single reading. TempTraq continuously monitors temperature for a 24hr period and it comes in the form of a soft comfortable patch, so there’s no discomfort and no poking or prodding!

How? For an axillary reading with a stick thermometer, you place the tip of the thermometer in the center of the armpit and then tuck your child’s arm by their side – do this under not over their clothes so the thermometer has direct contact with skin and not clothing. Most manufacturers recommend keeping the thermometer in the armpit for at least two minutes to get an accurate reading. As most of you know, it’s a challenge to get our little ones to sit still for very long so it can be challenging to get an accurate reading.

TempTraq – An axillary reading from the TempTraq Bluetooth temperature monitoring patch can eliminate any worries about discomfort and inaccurate readings. Applying the patch is a simple and easy process for both you and your child!

How? First, be sure you have downloaded the free TempTraq App onto your phone or mobile device. Then open the packaging and remove the patch – be sure not to bend it too much when you are handling the TempTraq patch. Next, activate the patch by pressing the “Press to Start” button and make sure you hear the “CLICK”. Then remove the backing on the patch just prior to application. Finally, apply the patch directly under the arm by placing the corner marked “underarm” in the very center of your child’s armpit. Be sure that their underarm area is clean and dry before applying, just like you would an adhesive bandage. And voila! You can now remotely monitor your child’s temperature on your mobile device while they get the rest they need to recover!

If you have any further questions, you can check out our FAQ page or take a look at our handy little infographic below!

Other – There are a few other types of thermometers and temperature taking methods that we have yet to mention, but you might commonly find on the pharmacy shelves – ear, temporal artery, and skin. Ear and temporal artery are both considered reliable methods for taking temperature; skin on the other hand is not.

Ear - An electronic ear thermometer measures the tympanic temperature, which is taken by inserting the thermometer into the ear.  It is a fairly common and reliable method, but properly aligning the thermometer to the tympanic membrane to get an accurate reading can be a challenge for a child who is under the weather – especially if they have an earache! And too much wax in the ear could also alter the reading.

Forehead - Temporal or forehead thermometers are used to measure the infrared heat that emanates from the temporal artery. The readings are usually .5 – 1 degree lower than oral temperature, but are still considered to be reliable when used correctly.

Skin - Finally, the forehead strips that you find in store only read skin temperature, which is not an accurate or reliable method for reading a child’s temperature. While TempTraq looks quite similar to the skin temperature thermometers (a soft, flexible patch), it actually monitors your axillary temperature which is a reliable and accurate reading.

We know it can be overwhelming to make a decision about the best product for taking your child’s temperature when they are sick! We believe that TempTraq can ease a lot of those worries with our unique technology that allows you to remotely monitor your child’s temperature on your mobile device for 24 hours! As they say, rest is the best medicine for both you and your child!

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