Evaluation of Temporal Artery Thermometry in Children 3-36 Months Old

J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2009 Oct;14(4):239-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6155.2009.00204.x.


Purpose: This study aims to determine whether temporal artery (TA) thermometer readings are accurate and better tolerated than rectal readings in young children.

Design and methods: Paired rectal and TA temperature readings and Face Legs Activity Cry and Consolability (FLACC) scores were obtained.

Results: TA thermometry failed to detect rectal fever (38 degrees C or greater) in approximately 20% of paired temperature readings. FLACC scores were significantly lower after TA readings than after rectal readings.

Practice implications: This study questions TA readings as an accurate substitute for rectal thermometry.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fever / diagnosis
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Midwestern United States
  • Nursing Assessment / methods
  • Pediatric Nursing / methods
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Physical Examination / nursing
  • Rectum / blood supply
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Temporal Arteries*
  • Thermography / adverse effects
  • Thermography / instrumentation
  • Thermography / methods*
  • Thermography / nursing