What type of thermometer to use for 4 yo? - Mothering Forums
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The Childhood Years > What type of thermometer to use for 4 yo?
Elizabeth2008's Avatar Elizabeth2008 02:08 AM 10-12-2009
DS will be 4 in a few months and I'm wondering what type of thermometer is appropriate at this age. Rectal? I have an unopened Vicks Baby rectal thermometer but it says birth - 3 years. DS has actually never had a fever that necessitated using a thermometer, but I want to have one on hand for flu season, etc. I'm wondering if I could use this baby rectal one if needed (and how do kids this age usually react to that???) or if I should be buying a regular oral one.

Thanks!

lizziebits's Avatar lizziebits 02:15 AM 10-12-2009
At that age, I'd probably do axillary. You can use a regular oral thermometer, and just put it right in the middle of their armput, and then hold their arm down snugly.

If you do it this way, be aware that it hovers somewhere around a degree less than oral, which is usually around a degree less than rectal.
alegna's Avatar alegna 02:29 AM 10-12-2009
I don't ever use rectal thermometers. Specific temp really doesn't matter that much.

I use an ear one or a temporal one (forehead)

-Angela
sebarnes's Avatar sebarnes 02:39 AM 10-12-2009
I love our temporal one. It works great for both my 4 year old and my two year old.
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 03:16 AM 10-12-2009
We have an ear thermometer. I would honestly never beable to bring myself to use a rectal thermometer.

The way I see it, if you know your kids general base temperature then you can probably get a good idea of if he/she has a fever so long as you use the same method to take the temp.
stormborn's Avatar stormborn 03:33 AM 10-12-2009
I'm not sure I'd want to try that on a 4 yo. Any kid, really! When I think how hard my 1 yo thrashes just during an unwelcome diaper change......
PotreroHill's Avatar PotreroHill 03:44 AM 10-12-2009
I'd use an ear thermmamator.
Belle's Avatar Belle 03:51 AM 10-12-2009
I've never the occasion to use a rectal thermometer. If they feel warm I've used a regular thermometer under the armpit. That's good enough for me. Dd1 started cooperating with an oral thermometer at age three. Not all kids will do that. For Dd2 (almost 2 years) we use the armpit for temps. Even our ped's office doesn't do anal temps. They either do auxilary or oral. Much easier on the kiddos. (and their parents)
Sailor's Avatar Sailor 04:35 AM 10-12-2009
I gotta say, at age 4, if my mom tried to put a thermometer in my rectum, I'd be scarred for life! I honestly don't know why they sell those. They seem more like torture instruments to me.

I have one for ears. As well as an oral one.

When I was small, my mom just used a regular old, under the armpit kind. It still used mercury! She just held my arm down for me.
zebra15's Avatar zebra15 05:19 AM 10-12-2009
When my son was 4 we had an ear thermometer. Now that he is 9 I have a forehead one... somewhere in the middle I broke down and got the forehead one... I LOVE IT...
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 05:33 AM 10-12-2009
Definitely underarm - I have never used a rectal one - even when they were babies and wouldn't let the hospital use one either - underarm is fine, I can't imagine using a rectal one on my son who is 4 - he definitely would not be pleased with me!
babymommy2's Avatar babymommy2 12:33 PM 10-12-2009
skip the rectal one, even hospitals don't use them on babies anymore.
cedoreilly's Avatar cedoreilly 12:37 PM 10-12-2009
After getting a foot in the face trying to take a rectal temp on DS2 right after he turned 4, we bought one of those temporal ones.
elmh23's Avatar elmh23 12:53 PM 10-12-2009
We do underarm with a regular thermometer. I want to get a temporal or ear thermometer, but my kids don't really get sick enough for me to warrent going out and getting one until the one we have breaks.
4evermom's Avatar 4evermom 01:09 PM 10-12-2009
My ds was fine with a digital oral one at age 4. He liked listening for the beepbeepbeep that meant it was done.
stormborn's Avatar stormborn 03:31 PM 10-12-2009
This thread reminded me~ Did you know they actually make musical Spongebob rectal thermometers? Really.
riverscout's Avatar riverscout 03:32 PM 10-12-2009
I've only taken a temperature rectally during infancy when my babies were either too small for the ear one or didn't want to cooperate with the underarm or ear one. Neither seemed to notice the rectal thermometer and it was really fast.

That said, since a 4 year old is capable of cooperating with other methods, I would skip that route. I would pass along the unopened rectal thermometer to someone who is expecting and get something new. I've been using the ear thermometer on my almost 4 year old (and me and DH too) for a few years now.
LittleBlessings's Avatar LittleBlessings 09:23 PM 10-19-2009
I also love our temporal one
katelove's Avatar katelove 11:32 PM 10-19-2009
Tympanic are the most accurate when used properly.

Temporal will probably be really good when they iron out the kinks but at the moment they have too many problems for me to be comfortable with them...

- not validated for children
- inaccurate when forehead is sweaty, even if sweat is wiped off first
- must be in the same ambient temp as the person for 30 mins before use

We use the tympanics in ED and axilliary for children who are too small for tympanic.
ecoteat's Avatar ecoteat 11:57 PM 10-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormborn View Post
This thread reminded me~ Did you know they actually make musical Spongebob rectal thermometers? Really.


We have an ear thermometer that our ped said wasn't very accurate. But that's what I use first. There have been a few times, when dd was 1-2, that I used the digital rectal if I felt like I wasn't getting a decent reading. But I guess maybe the rectal isn't such a good idea now that she's older.

I remember being 5ish and laying on my belly on the couch and my mom taking my temp in my butt with a regular mercury thermometer. I was annoyed by it, but no more than anything else having to do with being sick.
Eeyore35's Avatar Eeyore35 12:03 AM 10-20-2009
I've always used an oral thermometer. Under her arm until recently,now orally, (she's almost 4.5)

I've never use a rectal one,but I know my dughter would not be impresed iwth me. I had to give her a suppository once,and you should have seen the poor kid's face when the dr. was explaining it to her.
Jenelle's Avatar Jenelle 03:43 AM 10-20-2009
Yeah... Please PITCH the rectal thermometer and just stick with a digital one under the arm. Or an ear one... I have been told to add a degree to both of these. I feel MUCH more comfortable with the "not exact-ness" of these methods than I ever would getting close to the rectum. Sponge Bob musical... That is so wrong!
riverscout's Avatar riverscout 11:11 AM 10-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post
I remember being 5ish and laying on my belly on the couch and my mom taking my temp in my butt with a regular mercury thermometer. I was annoyed by it, but no more than anything else having to do with being sick.
Yeah, I remember being about the same age and laying on a bed getting a rectal temp too. It really was not a big deal for me either. I'm kind of surprised at all the shock and horror expressed by some at the mere thought of it. I mean much bigger things come out of there . I don't see how maybe half an inch of a skinny little thermometer with a little Vaseline on it is such a big deal. Of course there are other options out there now which is great, but really a rectal thermometer is not torture or anything.
Jenelle's Avatar Jenelle 12:20 PM 10-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverscout View Post
Yeah, I remember being about the same age and laying on a bed getting a rectal temp too. It really was not a big deal for me either. I'm kind of surprised at all the shock and horror expressed by some at the mere thought of it. I mean much bigger things come out of there . I don't see how maybe half an inch of a skinny little thermometer with a little Vaseline on it is such a big deal. Of course there are other options out there now which is great, but really a rectal thermometer is not torture or anything.
Most of the things I remember from the age of 4 or 5 were pretty BIG deals, for them to be etched in my memory still today, at 30. First day of kindergarten, the time the babysitter threw me in a bath tub of cold water because I was throwing such a fit... And, I have an awful memory of a female doctor putting her finger in my rectum without warning. That is a very sensitive area, and for a child who has no previous experience with anything going IN there, it was traumatic. I believe I have been (subconsciously) battling anxiety with doctors ever since. It was awful.

Honestly, from my point of view, I am kind of surprised that anyone out there would still think it was necessary to insert a thermometer in their 4-year-old's rectum. There are so many other options out there now... And we know that the fever is a completely normal bodily function that serves a very important purpose... So "WHY the need to know an EXACT number?" I guess is my line of thinking.
JL83's Avatar JL83 01:10 PM 10-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I don't ever use rectal thermometers. Specific temp really doesn't matter that much.

I use an ear one or a temporal one (forehead)

-Angela
Actually - specific temperatures can matter. They don't in all cases, but they certainly can.

Here's what Dr Sears has to say about taking a child's temperature: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/8/t082100.asp

Quote:
HOW DO I TAKE MY CHILD'S TEMPERATURE?

* Regular glass underarm thermometer– this seemingly "old fashioned" method is still probably the most accurate, although difficult to do with a crying, squirming child. Try to hold in place for 3 minutes, making sure the tip is deep in the soft underarm skin.
* Ear thermometer – this quick and easy method has become more popular. The accuracy of these thermometers varies, however. One ear may read 98, the other 103. Which do you believe? If it reads close to normal, then it's probably true. If it reads 103 (39.5 Celcius) or greater, you may want to confirm this with a glass under thermometer! Readings between 99 and 102 (37.2 to 38.9 Celcius) are more reliable.
* Rectal glass thermometer – this method should only be used for newborns through age 3 months since accuracy is crucial for this age. Gently insert the thermometer approximately ½ inch into the anus and hold in place for 3 minutes.
* Digital thermometer – these are oral, underarm or rectal. They are much faster than a glass thermometer, although you do lose some accuracy as with the ear thermometer.

riverscout's Avatar riverscout 02:18 PM 10-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenelle View Post
Most of the things I remember from the age of 4 or 5 were pretty BIG deals, for them to be etched in my memory still today, at 30. First day of kindergarten, the time the babysitter threw me in a bath tub of cold water because I was throwing such a fit... And, I have an awful memory of a female doctor putting her finger in my rectum without warning. That is a very sensitive area, and for a child who has no previous experience with anything going IN there, it was traumatic. I believe I have been (subconsciously) battling anxiety with doctors ever since. It was awful.

Honestly, from my point of view, I am kind of surprised that anyone out there would still think it was necessary to insert a thermometer in their 4-year-old's rectum. There are so many other options out there now... And we know that the fever is a completely normal bodily function that serves a very important purpose... So "WHY the need to know an EXACT number?" I guess is my line of thinking.
I never said I thought it was necessary. As a matter of fact, I said quite the opposite. I was simply surprised by the strong reactions (with no particular reason given other than ewwww!, butts!, Sponge Bob...not some personal history of trauma) to the very idea of ever using a rectal thermometer on anyone like it was somehow perverse or even abusive.

And as far as memory goes, I remember lots of very mundane things from that age like sitting on the steps playing with my stuffed dog and my dad coming home, watching TV and munching on granola with my mom, being in the kitchen while she cooked, playing with my records, my sister trying to teach me how to snap, and so on. So am am pretty sure my memory is accurate as far as not being traumatized in any way.
alegna's Avatar alegna 01:32 AM 10-21-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
Actually - specific temperatures can matter. They don't in all cases, but they certainly can.
Could you give an example of when it would be important? That doesn't mesh with anything I've read.

(other than *if* an under 3 mo old is running fever...)

-Angela
JL83's Avatar JL83 02:13 AM 10-21-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Could you give an example of when it would be important? That doesn't mesh with anything I've read.

(other than *if* an under 3 mo old is running fever...)

-Angela
Actually I did post a link which specifies when you it's important to know how high a fever is. But I'll repost the important parts:

Quote:
Here are the situations that usually warrant an urgent call to your doctor. If none of these fit your current situation, then you probably don’t need to page your doctor. Follow our treatment advice below and call your doctor during office hours.

*snip*

If your child of any age has one or more of the following symptoms, you should probably call your doctor right away:

* High fevers of 104 (40 Celcius) or higher that don't come down to 101 or 102 (38.3 to 38.9 Celcius) with the treatment measures below.
* Lethargy – this means more than your child just isn't acting right or laying quietly in your arms. Lethargy actually refers to your child being limp, lifeless, unresponsive, or won't make eye contact.
* Irritability - this means more than just fussiness. A truly irritable child will cry for hours with minimal verbal interaction, and is almost impossible to console.
* Meningitis – symptoms are high fever, stiff neck or pain in the back of the neck, vomiting, headache, bright light hurts the eyes. Before paging your doctor, you should also look up any other symptoms your child has, such as cough, vomiting, rash, etc and read those guidelines to determine your best course of action
Knowing whether or not you child has a high fever can be important in deciding whether or not to seek medical attention. It can also be important in figuring out what course of action to take.

Some people may be able to accurately determine the level of fever using their hand, but other people (like me) are never even close. I have sometimes been sure my DD had a fever and her temp was normal. Other times I have thought she was fine and taken it because she was really fussy/cranky and sure enough she's had a decent fever.
alegna's Avatar alegna 02:26 AM 10-21-2009
I would disagree that the actual temp matters as much as how long it lasts and behavior of the child.

-Angela
stormborn's Avatar stormborn 05:51 AM 10-21-2009
Ooops. I didn't mean that I thought it was abusive or anything like that. Just that both of mine have been running, flailing, wiggling targets for even a butt wiping or clothes change. So anything involving a glass thermometer and any degree of precision scares me.
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