Choosing a digital baby thermometer
"Digital probe thermometers are accurate, and are safer and easier to use than old mercury models" ... CHOICE
Illness is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of childhood. Every family home needs a good thermometer so you can easily check your children for fever, which is a typical symptom of illness.
Fever is often defined as an oral temperature over 37.5°C for mild cases, or over 38.2°C in more severe cases. Fever passes as the body fights off the disease, but babies with fever – especially those under three months of age – must be checked by a doctor in case the illness is serious. Always seek medical advice if you’re concerned about your child’s temperature or health.
(NB: Normal body temperature is commonly stated to be 37°C, but this is only approximate; it varies from person to person and is also dependent on the time of day, so the temperatures mentioned here are only approximations.)
Digital probe thermometers are accurate, and are safer and easier to use than old mercury models. Through testing, CHOICE looked into which thermometers are the most accurate and easiest to use.
CHOICE digital thermometer reviews
CHOICE tester Corinna Horrigan checked the thermometers’ accuracy using a thermal bath calibrated to accuracy of ±0.01°C. Readings are taken at several different temperatures ranging from 32.00°C to 41.90°C. She also tested them at 37.00°C with the thermometer sheathed and unsheathed (using disposable sheaths designed for such thermometers), and found they are equally accurate sheathed or unsheathed. The Vicks V916C was tested both in our thermal bath and also on a small number of human subjects as its predictive software behaves differently in each situation.
Each model was also tested for ease of turning the thermometer on and off, quality of instructions, the display, audible indicator tones, and changing the battery.
CHOICE reviewed 10 digital probe thermometers are suitable for babies and toddlers, priced from $6.95 to $19.95. They found all the tested thermometers to be accurate, but learnt that some are much easier to use than others, thanks to features such as better displays, clear and comprehensive instructions, and batteries that are easy to change. Some also have fever indicators to alert you when the temperature reading is too far above normal.
The following brands and models were tested:
- Bodichek Digital Thermometer 13011129
- Chicco Express Digi Paediatric Thermometer
- Dreambaby Large Display Digital Thermometer F319
- Euky Bear Digital Thermometer EB820-AUS
- Omron Digital Thermometer MC-246
- Pigeon Digital Thermometer
- Safety 1st Baby's 1st Digital Thermometer 49512A
- Surgipack Digital Thermometer 6344
- Tommee Tippee Digital Thermometer 439445/1
- Vicks V916C-AUS Fever Insight
For the results of the digital thermometer test, you can visit the full report on the CHOICE website.