Digital pacifier thermometers

If your child uses a pacifier, you might want to try a digital pacifier thermometer. Your child simply sucks on the pacifier until the peak temperature is recorded.

The pro:

  • Your child may not even realize you're taking his or her temperature.

The cons:

  • Digital pacifier thermometers aren't recommended for newborns.
  • For the most accurate reading, your child must hold the pacifier still in his or her mouth for about three to five minutes — which is difficult for many young children.
  • Recent research doesn't support the accuracy of temperature readings from pacifier thermometers.

Temporal artery thermometers

Temporal artery thermometers — often sold as forehead thermometers — use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead.

The pros:

  • Temporal artery thermometers can record a person's temperature quickly and are easily tolerated.
  • Temporal artery thermometers are appropriate for infants older than age 3 months and for older children. New research suggests that a temporal artery thermometer also might provide accurate readings for a newborn.
  • Additional research suggests that temporal artery thermometers are the most accurate alternative to rectal digital thermometers for taking a child's temperature.

The con:

  • A temporal artery thermometer may be more expensive than other types of thermometers.

Mercury thermometers

Once a staple in most medicine cabinets, mercury thermometers use mercury encased in glass to measure body temperature. Mercury thermometers are no longer recommended because they can break and allow mercury — which is toxic — to escape.

If you have a mercury thermometer, don't throw it in the trash. Contact your local trash collection program to see if there's a hazardous waste collection site in your area.

Sept. 12, 2015 See more In-depth