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Nobody likes to see their child unwell, and when they’re very young there seems to be so much more to worry about.
Are these symptoms normal, or are they the sign of something more serious? How do I treat them safely? Is this a fever, or are they just warm? How DO I take a baby‘s temperature anyway?
In addition to the challenges that parents already face when a child is facing a fever, comes the news from CHOICE that taking their temperature might not be as straightforward as we have been imagining all this time.
When they tested baby thermometers, it was sometimes difficult to find out what kind of temperature reading the thermometer was giving: was it giving the core temperature, the oral temperature, the oral equivalent temperature, or the temporal artery temperature? And all of those things are completely different!
“Parents buying a thermometer off the shelf expect to know what type of temperature the thermometer is displaying, but many of the manuals don’t make it clear,” says says CHOICE’s baby and kids expert Kim Gilmour.
However CHOICE’s findings were that often not even the instruction manuals made it clear what type of temperature they read, so how do we even know if we’re dealing with a fever?
“We found that it can be confusing to know what temperature constitutes an actual fever. It does depend on things like age, what part of the body you’re measuring, and the environment,”
“Also, some thermometers convert the reading to what might be either a core temperature or an oral equivalent, adding to the confusion, and they don’t always make this clear in the instructions.”
“Parents buying a thermometer off the shelf expect to know what type of temperature the thermometer is displaying, but many of the manuals don’t make it clear,” says CHOICE’s baby and kids expert Kim Gilmour.
And the temperature can differentiate depending on where you’re taking it from too! Taking oral temperature as a baseline, here are the differences in temperature you’re likely to find if you take a temperature from a different part of the body:
Then you must take into account the inaccuracies in thermometers too. CHOICE found:
But don’t freak out entirely, there are certain things you can be doing to ensure you’re getting an accurate reading for your child each time …
You should always take the temperature from the same part of the body.
CHOICE recommends the following for getting a more accurate temperature reading on your little one.
When taking your child’s temperature, do:
When taking your child’s temperature, don’t: