A comparison of different methods of temperature measurement by mothers and physicians in healthy newborns

Indian J Pediatr. 2013 Mar;80(3):190-4. doi: 10.1007/s12098-012-0790-0. Epub 2012 Jun 2.


Objective: To compare the accuracy of digital axillary thermometer (DAT), rectal glass mercury thermometer (RGMT) and infrared forehead skin thermometer (IFST) measurements made by mothers and physicians in healthy newborns.

Methods: The body temperature measurements of 120 healthy newborns were made on their 2nd day of life using DAT, RGMT and IFST, first by mothers followed by a designated physician. Correlation analysis was performed for the measurements obtained by mothers and the physician. The presence of a former child or children at home, the educational level of the mother and maternal age were also recorded.

Results: No correlation was observed between the measurements made by mothers and the physician using RGMT (R(2) = 0.096). The temperatures measured by mothers and the physician showed a significant correlation when a DAT and IFST were used (R(2) = 0.923, p < 0.001; R(2) = 0.916, p < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions: Difficulty of use and interpretation make RGMTs less practical than DATs and IFST for use by mothers. Measurements with an IFST are obtained from a newborn's forehead in a shorter length of time compared to DATs, which makes it a more practical option.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Observer Variation
  • Physicians
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Thermography
  • Thermometers
  • Thermometry / instrumentation
  • Thermometry / methods*