Fever Facts

Thermometers have come a long way from the mercury-in-glass variety, which the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says to eliminate, due to mercury’s toxicity. The best bet for a reliable reading: “Rectal thermometers are the most accurate way,” says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D. However, getting your tot to cooperate with this method may not be easy. In that case, get a reading however you can—orally, in the ear or under the arm, bearing in mind that these may be off by about a degree. Two of our top thermometer picks:

Safety 1st Hospital’s Choice 8-Second Digital Thermometer
When used rectally, you’ll get a reading in as little as eight seconds. You can also get a 20-second reading using it orally or under the arm. $9.99. Buy it here.

Braun Thermoscan 3020 Ear Thermometer
This speedy thermometer measures temperature in the ear in just one second. $34.99. Buy it here

Encino, Calif.-based freelance writer Alexa Joy Sherman always has a digital thermometer at the ready for her 21-month-old son, Jack.