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Baby Thermometer Guide: Everything You Need To Know

A baby thermometer should be a staple in your medicine cabinet so you can quickly know if your baby’s unwell. And there is lots of choice and styles that will give you accurate readings – letting you know whether to seek professional help. So, before you make your purchase, get clued up on the different varieties available and everything else you need to know.

Choose carefully

You’ll probably have noticed the huge amount of variety of thermometers. From forehead strips to styles that take your baby’s temperature through his ear, the choice is massive – so knowing which to pick isn’t always easy. Plus, let's not forget non-contact ones, such as Boots' thermometer, which won Innovation of the Year in the Mother&Baby Awards 2014.

‘Forehead strips aren’t considered by medical professionals to be very accurate because they only show the temperature of the skin – but they’re useful,’ says Dr Donald Macgregor, consultant paediatrician for the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health.


‘You wouldn’t use them in a medical sense as they don’t give an accurate reading, just an idea of whether your child’s temperature is too high or low, but they’re cheap and could be good for taking on holiday.’ 

Dr Macgregor considers ear (or tympanic) thermometers to be the most effective

You can use the same thermometer for all of your children and the majority are safe for babies through to older children – but always check each individual device’s instructions.

Dr Macgregor considers ear (or tympanic) thermometers to be the most effective. ‘They are pretty easy to use as it only takes a matter of seconds to work and gives an accurate reading,’ he says. ‘It measures the temperature of blood vessels crossing the ear drum, which are quite close to the body’s core temperature.’ Just be sure to place the thermometer correctly in your tot’s ear (following the device’s instructions) to get the most accurate reading possible.

Steer clear of mercury-in-glass thermometers that you put under your child’s tongue, as the NHS no longer considers them as safe. They can break easily and mercury is highly poisonous if come into contact.

Know what to look for

The ‘normal’ temperature for a baby ranges from 36.4 degrees Celsius to 36.8 – but each baby has a slightly different core temperature so it will vary in each child. It’s a good idea to take your little one’s temperature when you know he’s well so you can know what his usual temperature is.


‘If your baby’s under three months old and he feels hot and has a temperature of 38 degrees Celcius or higher, it’s best to contact your GP,’ advises Dr MacGregor.

How to take your baby’s temperature

Before you take your baby’s temperature, remove any blankets or multiple layers and make sure the room’s at around 18-21°C to make sure your baby’s not too hot or cold.


Next, make sure your follow your thermometer’s instructions carefully to get the best reading possible. A digital device may beep once it’s ready and shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to get it’s reading and it will display your baby’s temperature on the screen once it’s finished.

If you’ve already got a thermometer, which one did you pick and why? Let us know in the comments box below.

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