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Rectal Thermometers Found to be Best:

A new study from Harvard Medical School published in the March 2001 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, determined rectal thermometers to be the most accurate method for measuring a baby's temperature. Use of a new infrared forehead thermometer, an ear thermometer, and rectal thermometers were compared.

Results showed the forehead device missed 40 percent of fevers detected with the rectal thermometer, but was still more accurate than the ear thermometer. Many hospitals and parents use the ear thermometers to measure temperature because they are easy to use, however were shown to be inaccurate in this study. About half of the low-grade fevers and 24 percent of high fevers (above 102.2 degrees F) were missed by the ear thermometer.

Rectal thermometers have long been considered the best method for measuring infants' temperatures and the results of this study do not come as a big surprise to many health professionals. Some doctors do not recommend ear thermometers because small ear canals can give a false reading. Oral thermometers are not recommended for infants and young children because they have difficulty keeping the device under their tongues and may bite down, potentially breaking the thermometer.

The above information is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice given to you by your child's own pediatrician, pharmacist, or other health professional. Use of this online service is subject to our disclaimer.

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