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Choosing And Using A Forehead Thermometer

- Apr 23, 2018 -

A forehead thermometer is often the best choice for assessing a patient's fever. This is true for multiple reasons, several of which merit discussion. While for newborns and infants a rectal thermometer is often the most accurate assessment tool, the use of this device can be inconvenient for the parent or care giver and uncomfortable for the child. Rectal thermometers can also be awkward to use on oneself or on another, and are not so much more accurate as to be a superlative option.

Oral thermometers are generally accurate when used properly, but it can be difficult for any patient, especially for younger children, to keep their mouths closed for long periods of time. An oral thermometer also necessitates a waiting period of at least fifteen minutes following the consumption of any food or beverage.

In-ear thermometers are not suitable for use with very young children who have smaller ear canals, and can also be rendered inaccurate by a build-up of wax in the ear of the user.

For quick, easy, and reliably accurate temperature assessments of patients of all ages, the forehead thermometer is an excellent option. These thermometers, formally referred to as temporal artery thermometers, as they use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the patient's temporal artery, which is located in the forehead, are the least intrusive way to quickly measure person's temperature.

Many forehead thermometers use a color coded system, displaying a green hue when a person's temperature reads in the normal zone and shifting to red when a fever is detected. This can help a parent or caregiver to quickly establish their charge's baseline health. For creating an in-depth assessment of the patient's wellbeing, the care giver needs to note the exact numerical temperature and record it, though.

When choosing a forehead thermometer, consider whether a non-contact model is best, or whether you prefer a unit that removes the guesswork of positioning the thermometer and instead that actually touches the patient's head. Non-contact units might have a slightly larger margin of error, but they won't wake a sleeping child, and they minimize the spread of germs.


If anyone, adult or child alike, experiences a fever that reaches a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it is time to seek medical assistance.

For newborn children under three months of age, a fever that reaches 100.5 degrees merits medical assessment and potential professional intervention. For kids between three and six months, this temperature ticks up to 101 degrees. And as they enter their toddler years and beyond, a child falls into the 104-degree category mentioned above. That is, unless other symptoms present themselves. People of all ages must watch out for a fever that presents itself along with certain other issues.


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