Every family medicine cabinet needs to have a thermometer for when you think your child might have a fever. That's why we've rounded up some of the best baby thermometers on the market. These devices will allow you to check all of the members of your family's temperatures should you need to.
Gone are the days you needed to shove a mercury-filled old-school thermometer in your child's armpit. We know trying to hold a baby still for six minutes to get an accurate reading is near impossible. Technology has advanced so much that we can get an accurate digital body temperature reading in just a few seconds.
Choosing the best baby thermometer for your child
There are so many different types 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.
Rectal thermometers: Although this is considered the most invasive way of checking temperature, it is thought to give the most accurate result.
Room thermometers: These can help you make sure that your baby's room is at the safest temperature for a baby. Experts suggest 16–20°C with a light blanket. Take a look at our pick of the best room thermometers here.
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. Take a look at our pick of the best bath thermometers here.
The best baby thermometers 2022
Here are some of the best baby thermometers to check your baby's temperature available to buy right now in the UK.
Boots Non-Contact Baby Thermometer
This clever baby thermometer from boots has clinically proven accuracy and is multipurpose, allowing you to measure your baby’s bottle, food, bath water and room temperature as well. With easy to read symbols alerting you if things are out of the ordinary, we also love the built-in memory, recording the last 60 readings for you. It’s won frequently in our awards, and we highly recommend this reliable little gadget.
Mum Laura says: "This product looks good and comes with a perfectly handy storage case, and it's so easy to use anyone could do it! It's light and easy to pop into your handbag and very hygienic as there is no direct contact, which I'm hoping will help prevent the spread of germs."
Braun Healthcare No Touch Forehead Thermometer
Another non-contact thermometer that makes checking a wriggling baby's temperature a quick and easy task. Its dual technology means that you get fast and precise temperature readings in two ways: In the Touch mode by placing the thermometer on the forehead and in No-Touch mode, by holding the thermometer in front of your child’s forehead.
Mum Lisa says: "Usually when we need to take the child’s temperature they are irritable u0026 ill, making it difficult to get the child to sit still for any length of time, this is an amazing precise handy piece of kit, which makes monitoring a child’s temperature easier than before.
"Sound can be switched on and off at ease, which enables the temperature to be taken without disturbing a sleeping baby, the LED backlight means that the display can be read with ease in any light within a few seconds."
Tommee Tippee No Touch Forehead Thermometer
This clever thermometer from Tommee Tippee is perfect for reading the temperature of a sleeping child. This thermometer is quick, accurate and really easy to use on young babies. Just hold the scanner up to 4cm away from the centre of the forehead, press the start button and the temperature will show on the LCD display panel within two seconds.
Mum Johanne says: "I would recommend this product as it is very easy to use. It is super simple and when your baby is unwell and distressed, that is what you need as a mum.
"The display is nice and clear and the check back feature is extremely helpful. I would say this is a worthwhile purchase as it is going to come in handy for years, unlike most baby purchases we make."
Braun Healthcare ThermoScan 7 Ear Thermometer with Age Precision
This ear thermometer measures a baby’s temperature through the ear with professional accuracy. Its thermometer has an immediate fever warning, glowing red if your child has a fever. This device has age-adjustable fever guidance with a colour-coded display and a night light. To ensure more accuracy. The Braun Healthcare Themoscan has a patented pre-warmed tip to ensure gentleness and professional accuracy by eliminating the cooling effect of the probe in the ear.
Buyer review: "A top-notch quality ear thermometer. Many hospitals and GPs use them (I had to bring my 10week baby many times to both places and saw them using it on their patients) so somehow is a way to show its good quality and recommended by professionals. It's easier to use it when baby is lying down or asleep, but overall very easy to use."
Brother Max Infrared Digital 2-in-1 Head/Ear Thermometer
Silent, easy to use with the option to use zero contact, this is a great option. Suitable to be used from birth, it can be used to measure your child’s temperature from the head and ear in one second, accurate to 0.2°C.
Buyer review: "I love this product. Easy and quick to use with accurate results which is what I need as a mama! Great design and easy to hold and store with minimal fiddling around with I found this very useful as a parent for constant monitoring when babies are ill. Handy cover and clear instructions (although make sure you read to familiarise yourself) come with it looks good to boot."
Straight forward to use, this thermometer provides can be detected within a distance of 1cm to 5cm, giving an automatic temperature measurement in just one second. There are two modes to choose from, "Body" mode and "Surface" mode, so it can not only measure body temperature in babies or adults through the forehead mode but also the temperature of water, bottles and food.
Review: "This infrared body thermometer is exactly what it says on the tin! A great item. We have always had little ones not liking their temp being taken in other methods but this non-contact method has proven to be brilliant. Highly recommended especially if you have to take multiple temperatures for many people and many times a day."
What does a high temperature mean?
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. Dr Elia Maalouf specialises in the treatment of fevers.
"Your child’s body is working all the time to maintain the optimum core temperature. Which all their organs need to function," explains the consultant paediatrician and neonatologist.
"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.