Every family medicine cabinet needs to have the best baby thermometer for when you think your child might have a fever.
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Gone are the days you needed to shove a mercury-filled old-school thermometer in your child's armpit and try to hold them still for six minutes to get an accurate reading. Thankfully, technology has advanced so much that we can get a pretty accurate body temperature reading in just a few seconds. In addition to fever thermometers, bath and baby room thermometers are also necessary to make sure that your baby's surroundings are just right.
Choosing the best baby thermometer for your child
There's a large choice of baby thermometers on the market that cost anywhere from £10-£50; here’s a run-down of the different options available:
- In-ear thermometers: You’ll notice most doctors use a digital in-ear thermometer to take babies’ temperatures —this is because it is quick and painless, while giving an accurate body temperature reading.
- Non-contact thermometers (forehead): These work by taking an infrared reading from your baby’s forehead, meaning you can check on their temperature with no physical contact. Don’t confuse these with the cheaper strip forehead thermometers, which are very different, and much less accurate. The NHS recommends avoiding using forehead strip-type thermometers.
- Armpit thermometers: The NHS still recommends these when taking your baby’s temperature —especially when they are a newborn.
- Room thermometers: These can help you make sure that your baby's room is the safest temperature for a baby. Experts suggest 16–20°C with a light blanket.
- Bath thermometers: A baby's bath should be 37-38°C and the only way to make sure you've got it right is with a baby bath thermometer.
The best baby thermometers 2020
Here are 5 of the best baby thermometers to check your baby's temperature, room temperatre and bath temperature available to buy right now in the UK.
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This clever little room thermometer changes colour to let you know whether the temperature of your baby’s room is safe. A yellow glow suggests the room is a comfortable temperature, a blue glow suggests it’s too cold and a red glow tells you it’s too warm. It also acts as a comforting night light so it's an all-around winner in our eyes.
This best-selling bath thermometer monitors both room and water temperatures at a glance. It looks cute and floats in water and is safe and fun for your tot to play with during bathtime.
Ask the expert
Dr Elia Maalouf is a consultant paediatrician and neonatologist at the Portland Hospital for Women and Children, the UK’s largest private children’s hospital.
‘Your child’s body is working all the time to maintain the optimum core temperature which all his organs need to function,’ explains consultant paediatrician and neonatologist Dr Elia Maalouf, who specialises in the treatment of fevers. ‘When we take a baby or child’s temperature, or an adult’s for that matter, we’re really measuring the core temperature of their body, rather than that of the surface of their skin,’ explains Elia. ‘In order for the body to function efficiently, that temperature must fluctuate within a normal range of 36.5 to 37.2 degrees.’
‘Infections are the most common reason your child will get a temperature,’ says Elia. When an infection invades his body, it mounts what’s called an ‘inflammatory response’ against it. Blood circulation increases around the infected area, carrying the antibodies needed to fight it. This causes his temperature to rise. Which also, happily, kills off some bacteria and viruses that can’t take the heat.
So a higher-than-normal reading on the thermometer can actually be a positive sign. ‘It’s an indication that your child’s body is mounting an effective response to kill off the infection,’ explains Elia.
‘However, if your child has a temperature of 39.5 or above, you should always take action to try to lower it,’ he says.
The NHS urges parents to seek urgent medical advice if their baby under three-months-old has a temperature of 38°C or is between three and six-months-old and has a temperature of 39°C.
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