Before the birth of my baby boy, I did a lot of reading on baby thermometer and end up purchasing Braun Thermoscan 5 IRT 4520 ear thermometer. This product was recommended by my wife’s good friend, and based on my check, it is indeed a good product used by many parents. Basically, ear thermometer is used by putting the sensor gently inside a baby’s (or a child’s) ear and the thermometer will read the body temperature within few seconds. There is a cover on top of the sensor and we need to change the cover to maintain the cleanliness of the thermometer.
I found Braun IRT 4520 is a good product. Parents who try to buy this product might realize there are two almost similar products in the market: IRT 4520 (blue) and IRT 4020 (green). The blue IRT 4520 remembers the last 8 readings and comes with a built-in full body dock to store it. The green IRT 4020 only remembers the last reading (one memory) and comes with in a external cap only to protect the sensor.
I tested this thermometer to test my own ear (my baby was not even born yet when I did that) and enjoyed the easy process. However, the real test will come when I need to use the thermometer for my newborn baby.
After the birth of our baby, my wife and I spent few nights in hospital for her recovery as well as for early treatments for our newborn. In the hospital, we received lots of hands-on training and information from the midwives who take care of us around the clock. All of them recommends armpit thermometer instead of ear thermometer. It is kinda unusual for all of them to recommend the same thing for thermometer as their opinions on other issues are quite different (and confusing sometimes, despite their good intentions). So I decided to get a good armpit thermometer from Vicks.
The model that I got is Vicks V916C-AUS Fever Insight. It is a sleek thermometer that comes with a handy semi-transparent hard case. Basically we put the sensor between a baby’s armpit and wait few seconds until a soft beep. Then we can see the temperature immediately. I love the fact that this thermometer provides color-coded result. Good temperature will automatically have green back-light; slightly high temperature will have orange back-light and fever will have red back-light. It was very handy for first time parent like myself. This is something I don’t have in the Braun IRT 4520 (I had to put a sticker on my Braun thermometer with some printed guide so I remember the range of normal and fever temperature).
Since I have two thermometer now (armpit and ear), I am curious to find out which one is more accurate. Do they provide the same reading results every time?
I did a little experiment when my baby boy was around 8 weeks old. For few days I checked his temperature few times a day using both Braun IRT 4520 and Vicks V916C-AUS. During normal days, these two thermometers always produced exactly the same reading. Multiple tests in one session always produce the same result. However, when my baby was due for his 2 months immunisation, his temperature went up a little bit at night and Vicks V916C-AUS gave us more consistent results of temperature gradually going down after taking baby Panadol. Braun IRT 4520 gave us inconsistent reading during that night. Not only the test result of left ear could sometimes be different from the result of right ear, the overall up and down are not so believable compared to the readings I got from Vicks V916C-AUS. I mean, as parents who continuously holding our baby in the last few weeks, my wife and I have some ideas of our son’s body temperature by holding him with our hands. My wife and I usually have the same impression about high/low temperature. Vicks consistently showed temperature that fits our “guess”, Braun thermometer did not.
Therefore I concluded that for 8 weeks old baby, armpit thermometer is a better choice and more accurate. It does not have to be this exact model from Vicks, but get yourself a decent model. Do not try to save few dollars by choosing cheaper models because some cheaper models take longer time to measure temperature and babies are generally unhappy when something weird is put inside their armpit. So the faster the process, the better for both baby and parent.
I have a theory that when dealing with toddler instead of infant, ear thermometer could be more practical. The entire process is faster and there is no need to open the baby’s (or toddler’s) clothes. Will do another experiment later.