With so many different kinds of thermometers on the market these days, parents may be wondering which one is best to use for their kids.

“It does partially depend on the child’s age and it is also very important to follow the directions on the thermometer to a tee, because there were a lot of mass-produced thermometers with the most recent pandemic and they all have different directions,” said Maureen Ahmann, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Ahmann said with young children, parents are going to get the most accurate reading with a rectal thermometer.

However, if they’re uncomfortable using one of those, they could try a forehead scanner instead or place a digital thermometer under the child’s armpit. When it comes to infants, she does not recommend using an ear thermometer since their ear canals are so small.

Not to mention it can be difficult to get the right angle, or there could be ear wax that could throw off the reading. The same goes for if the baby has an ear infection.

“The other thing with those ear thermometers is that I have noted that ear infections, because the eardrum is inflamed, it can actually falsely make it look higher – falsely read high with those, so you do want to watch that,” she explained.

Dr. Ahmann said once a child gets older and can hold a thermometer under their tongue, then it’s okay to use one of those.

They are generally accurate, unless of course, the child ate something prior to tampering with the reading, like a frozen treat. If that’s the case, parents should wait a half hour before doing the test.