Digital Axillary and Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers for Children


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Abstract

Axillary digital thermometers (ADTs) and non-contact (infrared) forehead thermometers (NCIFTs) are commonly used in pediatric settings, where an incorrect body temperature measurement may delay treatments or lead to incorrect diagnoses and therapies. Several studies comparing ADT or NCIFT with other methods have found conflicting results. To investigate whether ADT and NCIFT can be used interchangeably, a comparative observational study was conducted involving 205 children aged 0 to 14 years who were consecutively admitted to the pediatric emergency department. The Bland–Altman plot illustrated agreement between the two methods. A total of 217 pairs of measurements were compared; axillary measurements showed average values significantly higher than forehead measurements (37.52°C and 37.12°C; t = 7.42, p = .000), with a mean difference of 0.41°C between the two methods (range = −1.80 and +2.40). In this setting and population, ADT and NCIFT cannot be used interchangeably.

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