In children older than 3, taking an oral temperature is acceptable. An ear thermometer is another option for older babies and children. It gives quick results, but placing it can be tricky and you may not get the same temperature in both ears. Temporal artery thermometers, which read the infrared heat waves released by the temporal artery in the forehead, are acceptable for use in babies 3 months and older but only as a screening device for younger babies. Ask your child’s doctor for advice.
Whatever method you choose, the thermometer you purchase should be easy to use and comfortable for your child. With this in mind, our recent tests of 10 fever thermometers not only measured accuracy but also included comments from 19 children ages 4 and up about their comfort level with each thermometer.