Ear thermometers???

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  • #79891
    mommd2bmommd2b
    Participant

    Wow…we’ve had such an up and down week. Our little 2 month old has had RSV. He is baby #4, but I’ve actually never had a sick baby before….my other children have never had an ear infection or anything….poor little Aidan had RSV and an ear infection in each ear….

    He had had cold symptoms for a couple of days but I was using an ear thermometer..it only registered a temp of 99.6 (not considered a fever). When I took him to the ER his rectal temp was 101.5…He was wheezing and grunting when he breathed…quite scarey.

    We’re all back to normal now, but it left me wondering whether or not he had had this fever all along and I had been taking him out not realizing how sick he was. The ear thermometer had read 99.6 for days…..

    Does anyone else here use an ear thermomether? Anyone have any info about how valid they are?

    kris

    #79893
    MTaylorMTaylor
    Participant

    Oh Kris,

    They are not very accurate at all :no: …especially in small children. We (at our hospital) never (ever) rely on them for accurate readings….ever. An inexpensive digital, rectal themometer is best…until the kid is older.

    Glad to hear you guys are doing better!! 🙂

    #79895
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    I totally agree with MYA (the doc knows best ! 😉 We dont even use them at our hospital.

    #79896
    EM momEM mom
    Participant

    Sorry to hear about your kiddo, Kris, I hope everything is getting better now!

    I threw my ear thermometer away. It was never accurate and I have since resigned myself to the rectal method. Not pleasant, but at least I have a real idea of what it going on. (Having said this, I bet you would have felt it if your baby had a fever higher than 101 though, so if you were convinced by the 99.6, it may not have been higher earlier…).

    #79898
    ReneeRenee
    Participant

    Agree w/ all other responses…don’t rely on ear thermometers. I don’t use them at all.

    I still use the rectal method w/ my “almost 3” year old when I know there’s some kind of fever. He’s still too young to do under the tongue and I don’t like under the arm much either. Not too long ago, I had measured his temp rectally at 102.something and took him to the Dr. one hour later (no fever reducing meds). The nurse used an ear thermometer and it registered 98.something. I had her redo it rectally and sure enough…102+

    I don’t even use an ear therm. on our older kids.

    Renee

    #79900
    mommd2bmommd2b
    Participant

    wow, that is sooo disappointing. We had one when my first was born and never had a need to use it until he was older….and at the time it was also what was being used in the pediatricians offices, etc……even my preschooler (about to turn 5) had the ear temp thing done at all of his peds visits. I assumed things hadn’t changed in that regard.

    Man…we just spent $40 on that thing 😡 I thought it was funny here that they actually rely on the armpit temps at the doctor appointments……

    I’m a little squeemish about the whole…rectal temp thing…I just CANT do it :rolleyes: I know that sounds ridiculous, but I can’t…so….I guess I’ll try the armpit next time.

    kris

    #79902
    ReneeRenee
    Participant

    Mommd2b…I don’t think things have changed that much. My pediatrician’s office continues to use ear thermometers for kids over 1 year old. I’m actually surprised they do because I’ve never found them to be that accurate. Granted…not a ton of experience as we’ve never owned one. I’m mainly going on the discrepancies I’ve seen from the readings I’ve done and the Dr’s office ear readings.

    #79904
    FPmommyFPmommy
    Participant

    My experience and the data from the companies is that the ear thermometers are accurate in older kids (not under 6 or 12 months at all) BUT – huge caveat – you have to use them perfectly. Mostly I take the temp about 4 to 6 times per reading to make sure I am being accurate because they aren’t always. You have to have it in the canal perfectly. Supposedly the new one is a little easier, but ours is older (6 years). I am not terribly squeemish but have not wanted to do rectal temps if not necessary. I think that I am getting reasonably accurate temps, but it is a pain to get the kids to let me do it a bunch of times (and I always take the highest reading). I may start trying oral on my 6 year old now that they have those new quick thermometers. My husband and I do get accurate readings on ourselves as long as we redo it for perfect placement a few times.

    #79906
    rydysrydys
    Participant

    I agree completely that ear thermometers are not practical for regular use. However, neither are underarm (axillary) temps. An underarm temp is simply a measure of skin temp and may be higher or lower than actual body temperature depending on the environment. For children under 3, rectal temps are the only way to go (since accurate temp measurement does make a difference). Over 3, it depends whether they can do an oral correctly or not.

    #79908
    SomedaySomeday
    Participant

    My SIL gave us a pacifier thermometer. (It has a digital readout.) We haven’t used it yet, as the wee one is still in utero. Anyone have any experience with these? (I’m not keen on rectal temps either)

    #79910
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    When my dtr was in grade K, she was frequently complaining she didnt feel well, after repeatedly picking her up for haveing a low grade temp, and never having one once we arrived home, I started to assume they were using an ear thermo. So the next time they called with her not feeling well and running a low grade T, I asked what they used….sure enough…it was the ear thermo, I told them to take her T orally, and then call me back…..it was NORMAL. Turns out, my dtr had been having seperation anxiety. It was an all day kindergarten.

    I didnt know they had pacifier thermos. COOL!

    I have found with my experiences with my own kids, the arm pit and rectal (considering the add. and subtr. of a degree thereof) temperatures were pretty accurate. My little one recently had a very high T via the arm pit, so to ensure this way was right, I did it rectally.

    #79912
    kjmerckjmerc
    Participant

    I received an ear themometer at a baby shower and tried it a few times but was unconvinced by the readings. I started taking rectal temps since they are the most accurate and now will only rely on them. I got rid of my ear thermometer and now, with my third, can usually gauge my child’s temperature based on how hot he or she feels.

    #79914
    DO HopefulDO Hopeful
    Participant

    Wow, I never realized that they were so inaccurate. We just got one a few months ago because they are the kind the Drs office uses here. My girls both had sinus infections last week. They both were quiet and my little one just wanted to be held while my older one just lay on the couch. They were conjested and constantly woke up at night. They both felt hot, so I took their temps using the ear thermom. I read the directions, and I’m guessing that I used it right. One time one of the readings said 104 – I did it again and it said the same. I usually check temps twice just to make sure. I guess I should be doing rectal with my 18 m.o. but I figure that the ear thermom. is easier to use, plus its what their Dr uses.

    I hate to think that they’re not accurate. Like mommd2b said, they’re not cheap. I’ve never been really good at reading the regular thermom. Maybe I should use them both just to double check the temps. next time.

    #79916
    MTaylorMTaylor
    Participant

    I’ve never been really good at reading the regular thermom

    Purchase a *digital* cheapie thermometer…they even come with a small rubber tip as to not be (as) uncomfortable for the child. Rectal temps are the most accurate indicators of actual core body temperature. At the doctor’s office…at a well child check…they aren’t exactly *looking* for a problem (such as a fever). So why subject every child to the torture? And, why subject the physician to the torture of working up a fever that is not significant?

    #79918
    BevBev
    Participant

    If baby has an earache, then ear thermo’s are hard to use. In order to get it positioned correctly, you really have to tug up on the ear. I always take it two or three times to make sure it is consistent. And I generally figure in an extra degree.

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