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Bench-top comparison of thermometers used in newborn infants
  1. Emma A Dunne1,2,
  2. Katie Cunningham1,2,
  3. Colm Patrick Finbarr O'Donnell1,2,
  4. Lisa K McCarthy1,2
  1. 1 Department of Neonatology, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 School of Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa K McCarthy, Department of Neonatology, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin D02 YH21, Ireland; lisamac79{at}


We wished to determine the accuracy of thermometers used to measure temperature in newborn infants. We measured the temperature of a water bath with three types of thermometer set at 0.5°C increments between 32.5°C and 38.5°C and compared the values to a control. We recorded the time to display steady-state temperature. The Microlife thermometer most closely approximated control temperature (mean difference <0.1°C (SD<0.1°C)) and displayed a reading in a mean time of 29 s (SD 2 s). Used in ‘predictive’ (default) mode, the Welch Allyn SureTemp Plus 692 thermometer differed from the control by a mean of 0.6°C (SD 0.3°C), displaying a temperature at 15 s (SD 3 s). This device consistently overestimated temperature. In ‘continuous’ mode, the mean difference was <0.1°C (SD<0.1°C) at 5 min. The Phillips probe differed from the control by a mean of 0.4°C (SD 0.2°C). Thermometers used to measure temperature in newborn infants may underestimate hypothermia. A prospective study in newborn infants is needed.

  • neonatology
  • technology

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  • Contributors EAD, KC, CPFO and LKM were involved in study conception and design. EAD and LKM completed the data collection. EAD, CPFO and LKM drafted the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the paper prior to submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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