Most Accurate Thermometer for a Toddler

List last update: 9th April 2017

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The Most Accurate Thermometer for a Toddler must take into consideration the particularities of measuring the temperature of a small child.

The toddler phase of a child, which goes from 1 to 3 years of age, is the time between infancy and childhood where cognitive, social, motor skill, emotional and physical development occurs.

The trade-offs when choosing the most accurate thermometer for a toddler are essentially related to convenience of usage and speed of measurement.

We selected three types of measurement types that we consider best for toddlers:

Measurement TypeProsConsType of Thermometer
Rectal Temperature

  • Most Precise


  • Requires Contact

  • Not very Convenient

  • Takes a few Seconds

Regular Digital Thermometer
Armpit Temperature

  • Medium Convenience


  • Requires Contact

  • Takes a few Seconds

Regular Digital Thermometer
Ear Temperature

  • Very Fast

  • Very Accurate


  • Requires Contact

  • Prone to user errors, specially with small children without fully developed ear canals.

Ear Thermometer

Very important: When in doubt about the accuracy of a measurement, always take a rectal temperature.

Best Thermometers for Toddlers

ThermometerType of ThermometerSuitable for Review LinkAmazon Link
Enji Happy Care Digital 10 Seconds ThermometerRegular Digital Thermometer

  • Rectal Temperature

  • Armpit Temperature

Our Review
iProvèn DMT-489 Medical Infrared Thermometer with dual Ear and Forehead ModeInfrared Thermometer with dual Ear and Forehead Mode

  • Ear Temperature

  • Forehead Temperature

Our Review

Recommended Types of Temperatures

Rectal Temperature

The most accurate temperature measurement type is a rectal measurement.

Unfortunately these are also the least convenient types of measurements to perform on a young child. They usually require the toddler to be awake and be handled, they also require contact with the thermometer, and they take a few seconds to take the measurement.

Still, if you require an extremely precise result, a rectal measurement if the recommended way to go.

Armpit Temperature

Very accurate when taken correctly, but more prone to user error due to bad placement of the thermometer.

They are not as inconvenient as a Rectal Temperature, but they also usually require the toddler to be handled, they require contact with the thermometer, and they take a few seconds to take the measurement.

If in doubt about the accuracy of the measurement and if you suspect your child might be feverish: always take a rectal temperature.

An important note is to always use different thermometers for Rectal, Armpit and Oral measurements. 

Ear Temperature

Quite accurate when taken correctly, which could be challenging for a young child, without fully developed ear canals.

Taking an Ear Temperature is very fast, as it uses an Infrared Thermometer, but special cares must be taken. Positioning of the Ear Thermometer is crucial to take timpanic temperature, and avoid taking the temperature of the walls of the ear canal. Also, in a small child, without fully developed ear canals, directions from the manufacturer should be followed to ensure clear sign of the timpanic membrane for measurement.

They require some handling of the child, but they are extremely fast at taking temperatures.

Temporal Artery Temperatures

Temporal Artery temperatures are the least accurate of all the temperatures mentioned in this article. They are very prone to positioning errors. Also a few studies were made that demonstrate this type of measurement less accurate than a Rectal temperature.

They are however very practical, in that most of the thermometers are infrared thermometer and therefore do not require contact with the toddler. This makes them the ideal thermometers for taking temperature while the child is asleep.

 

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