Best Ways to Take a Temperature

There are several ways to take your child’s temperature. What type of thermometer should you select? The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends mercury thermometers because these glass thermometers may break and, as their mercury vaporizes, it can be inhaled, resulting in toxic levels. Digital electronic thermometers are better choices.

Digital devices can measure temperatures in your child’s mouth or rectum. As with any device, some digital thermometers are more accurate than others. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and be sure the thermometer is calibrated.

Ear thermometers are another acceptable choice. Their accuracy depends on the ability of the beam emitted by the device to reach the eardrum. Thus, some of these devices may not be as reliable because of earwax or a small curved ear canal. For that reason, most pediatricians prefer that parents use digital electronic thermometers.

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