The best thermometer for toddlers is still considered the gold standard they offer the most reliably accurate measurement of core body temperature. Roberts explained that rectal thermometers are recommended for use with newborns because “they are most accurate and it is important to know if a newborn really has a fever.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall Thermometer
This top-rated thermometer takes the spot as our best overall option. The ultra-fast reader takes an accurate reading in the ear in only one second, which is perfect for parents trying to take temperatures for a finicky, squirmy kid.
Unlike the best thermometer for toddlers you probably remember growing up, this thermometer doesn’t require disposable plastic covers that can interfere with fever reading. The BP and Latex-free reader can be easily cleaned with a soft cloth or cotton swab and just a dab of 75 percent alcohol.
If you want something that’s at a cheaper price point but will still give you an accurate reading, reach for this oral and rectal thermometer from iProven. This small and discreet thermometer will give you a fast temperature reading in just 10 seconds, and the reading will be super-accurate within one-tenth of a degree.
While you might remember under the tongue thermometers as uncomfortable, this version has a very flexible tip that makes it much more comfortable than its predecessors.
Best Forehead Thermometer
Though this unit didn’t make it to our best wrist blood pressure monitor it still has some quality. Let’s have a look! If you’re looking for a thermometer that will give you ultra-accurate readings at just a touch to the forehead, try this top-rated option from ANKOVO.
Reviewers praise its speed and accuracy, and at this price point, it definitely won’t break the bank. In addition to reading temperatures in only one second. This ANOKVO will store up to 20 previous temperature readings, so you can have your fever history available at your fingers.
Best Thermometer for Toddlers and Kids
If your child is consistently picking up bugs and viruses on the playground, make sure you have a reliable and easy-to-use thermometer on hand, like this option from Target.
Say goodbye to the discomfort of under-the-tongue, inner ear, or rectal thermometers. Instead, this option takes the temperature by capturing the heat from the temporal artery through the forehead skin.
If you find yourself needing to take temperatures from finicky kids when they’re sleeping, invest in this no-touch option form Braun to make it super simple.
Best Multi Use
When you have a busy household with kids of various ages, you really need a thermometer that will hold up. For when they’re not feeling well, try this thermometer with both forehead and ear functionality.
Like other digital thermometers, this one displays your temperature in only one second. If you’re unsure what numbers should be worrisome for your little one, this thermometer also has audio and visual fever warnings to let you know when to see a medical professional. A mute function will pause the warning sounds for times when you’re taking a temperature in their sleep.
Best Ear Thermometer
This easy-to-use thermometer is suitable for the whole family – babies, kids, and adults alike. Reviewers praise this thermometer’s accuracy and also call it “embarrassingly easy to use.
This ear thermometer uses disposable lens filters to make it easy to switch between users without having to clean. And also because Braun knows that a buildup of earwax can impact the accuracy of the reading.
How to Shop for a Thermometer
There are five basic types of digital thermometers.
Oral thermometers: Oral temperature readings are quick and typically fairly accurate for teenagers over 4 years old. For the most accurate results, your child will need to be able to breathe through their nose rather than their mouth while the thermometer is working. This can be hard for kids to do when they’re congested.
Axillary thermometers: Armpit thermometers aren’t usually quite as accurate as other sorts of thermometers.
However, they can give you a general idea if you’re not able to take your child’s temperature another way. These are OK to use for babies and kids over 3 months.
Rectal thermometers: the simplest choice for babies under 3 months, these thermometers are designed to be utilized in the rectum.
They can be a little uncomfortable, but they’re fast and very accurate.
Temporal artery thermometers: Sometimes called forehead thermometers, these are quick and accurate.
They can be a little on the pricey side, but are easy to use and won’t cause any discomfort.
Tympanic Thermometers: Better referred to as ear thermometers, these are quick to use and typically pretty comfortable. They’re a safe bet for infants and kids over 6 months old.
Keep in mind that there are some drawbacks, though. Earwax buildup or an ear canal that’s small or curved can make ear thermometer readings less accurate.
Above all other things, consider your baby’s age when choosing a thermometer. You may want to start with a rectal thermometer and then use a forehead or ear thermometer as they grow. Plus, if you ever question a reading, you can use the rectal as a backup.
Again, look only for digital thermometers. Safely dispose of any you might already have that are made from glass and mercury. Not only are they harder to use and read, but they may be dangerous if they break.
Comfort and safety features like a flexible tip and wide base are must-haves when shopping for rectal thermometers. Backlit displays or even talking thermometers are good options and will help you see (or hear!) readings in the nighttime hours or if you have a vision impairment.
The general price range for consumer thermometers is between $10 and $50. Of course, you can also find extremely expensive medical-grade ones, like this $260 oral probe from Welch Allyn. But you can definitely get a reliable thermometer on the cheap.
If you’re looking for features like quick readings, memory tracking, or multiple reading types, you’ll need to pay more (but note that this doesn’t always mean better accuracy).
Some experts don’t recommend pacifier thermometers. While they may look like a genius option, they’re actually not super accurate and may take longer to capture a reading. Some experts also say to skip those skin strips that read the temperature. They aren’t accurate on babies.
Tips for How to Use a Thermometer
We all may be a little resistant to this but always read the instructions! How you use your thermometer will depend on what kind you have in your medicine cabinet. Here are some general guidelines for use by type.
Wash the thermometer using soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water and let dry. Before inserting into the rectum, lube the top with touch petrolatum or another lubricant.
Gently lay your baby down on their tummy on your lap or another stable surface. Place your palm on their back to hold them in place. Or, you may lay your baby face-up with their legs bent toward their chest, resting your free hand on their thighs.
Turn on your thermometer and then insert it about a half-inch to a full inch into the opening of their anus. Hold it in place with two fingers. It may help to cup your hand on your child’s butt.
Then remove the thermometer once you hear it beep, which indicates you’ve got successfully taken a reading. Always clean the thermometer before storing it between uses. And consider labeling it so you don’t accidentally use it for oral readings!
Tympanic (in-ear) Thermometers: Best Thermometer for Toddlers
Make sure your thermometer is clean and that you use a cover over the end, if necessary. Gently pull your child’s ear back and place the cone-shaped end in the ear canal. You’ll want to position it as if you’re pointing it at the eye on the other side of his head.
Once in place, turn on the thermometer and wait until you hear a beep, indicating you have a reading. The AAP doesn’t recommend using tympanic thermometers with babies under 3 months old.
Even with babies under 6 months, the ear canal may be just too small to get an accurate reading. You’ll also want to avoid this type if your little one has an earache or has recently bathed or been in the pool.
Temporal Artery (forehead) Thermometers: Best Thermometer for Toddlers
Make sure your thermometer sensor is clean and dry.
Place the probe directly in the center of your baby’s forehead. Press the scan button as you move the thermometer toward one ear.
Release the scan button and skim your baby’s temperature.
Axillary (Underarm) Thermometers
Make sure your thermometer is clean and dry. While this isn’t as important as when you place it in the rectum or mouth, it’s good for the maintenance of your device.
Turn the thermometer on and place the reading end into the space of your baby’s armpit. Make sure that the end is touching your child’s skin and not their clothing.
Hold it in place until you hear a beep that indicates you’ve taken a reading.
Clean your thermometer with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Rinse and let dry.
Turn the thermometer on and insert it into your child’s mouth toward the back under the tongue. You may remove it when you hear a beep that indicates you’ve taken a reading.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Best Thermometer for Toddlers
Q. What is the most accurate thermometer for toddlers?
A. Armpit temperatures are usually the smallest amount accurate. Rectal temperatures provide the simplest readings for infants, especially those 3 months or younger, also as children up to age 3. For older children and adults, oral readings are usually accurate as long because the mouth is closed while the thermometer is in situ.
Q. How can I tell if my toddler has a fever without a thermometer?
A. “The commonest thanks to checking if someone features a fever without a thermometer is to feel the forehead or neck with the rear of your hand. Lee says. “Check to ascertain if it feels warmer than usual. Do not use the palm, as it is not as sensitive to temperature changes as the back of the hand is.”
Q. When should I worry about my toddlers temperature?
A. Always contact a GP or call 111 if: your child has other signs of illness, like a rash, also as heat. Your baby’s temperature is 38C or higher if they’re under 3 months old. your baby’s temperature is 39C or higher if they’re 3 to six months old.
Q. How can I tell if my toddler has a fever?
A. Look for these signs that your child may have a fever:
Feels warmer than usual.
Loss of appetite.
General body aches.
Fussiness or irritability.
Final Thoughts of Best Thermometer for Toddlers
Armpit temperatures are usually the least accurate. Rectal temperatures provide the best readings for infants, especially those 3 months or younger, as well as children up to age 3.
For older children and adults, oral readings are usually accurate as long as the mouth is closed while the thermometer is in place.
Rectal thermometers are still considered the gold standard they offer the most reliably accurate measurement of core body temperature. Roberts explained that rectal thermometers are recommended for use with newborns because “they are most accurate and it is important to know if a newborn really has a fever.