Cons: Inaccurate, difficult to get a reading, dangerous to the medical profession.
Safety 1st's Digital Pacifier Thermometer, like most other pacifier style thermometers, is a good product in theory. Somewhere, at sometime, a bunch of old men and women sat around a board room table and came up with this design, thinking it would be a good idea. Chances are none of those individuals had a child, and none of them ever had to take an accurate temperature on an infant. Oddly enough they seem to be popping up at every Baby Shower throughout America - most likely given by people that again, don't have children. That's how my wife and I received ours. Fortunately I'm smart enough to know not to use it and why I shouldn't use it.
Read on and you'll not only be convinced that this is just a terrible product, but you'll be convinced to rate this review Very Helpful or, if you're a category lead, Most Helpful.
Availability and Price
Pacifier Thermometers, specifically the Safety 1st thermometer, are available online through retail stores such as Target and Walmart. Oddly enough, they are not usually kept on the center shelves of stores such as Babys R Us, and you won't find them recommended by most upscale pharmacies, although Babys R Us does list them as an available product on their website. Pricing is usually over or around $10.00 - a bit much for a necessary medical device; especially for one that works so poorly.
Concept of Temperature Acquisition
The concept of Safety 1st's Digital Pacifier Thermometer is simple - a basic pacifier design that includes a temperature probe in the center of the nipple. The probe is connected to an electronic component in the handle of the pacifier which gives a digital read out of the temperature measurement. The general idea is that the infant keeps the pacifier in his or her mouth for 90 seconds and an "accurate" temperature is obtained.
Problems and Dangers With Temperature
The biggest problem with the Safety 1st Digital Pacifier Thermometer is that it simply does not provide an accurate temperature reading. Oral temperatures taken sublingually (the traditional under the tongue method) measures body temperature based on small heat pockets located in the top portion of a patient's mandible (lower jaw). Body heat radiates through these heat pockets and can be felt and most accurately read at the base of the tongue. When a temperature probe is positioned securely above the heat pocket the most accurate reading can be obtained. If, for example, a temperature probe was a few millimeters in front of the heat pocket, say in the area of the front teeth, a temperature reading can be off by as much as a degree.
Now place that same temperature probe above the tongue (where the pacifier thermometer is reading a temperature). The reading is going to be significantly less accurate compared to a properly positioned thermometer.
This inaccurate temperature reading could potentially lead to some serious medical problems. If a parent, worried about a sick infant, consulted with a nurse or doctor over the phone the advise given by the medical professional may be based on the current temperature of the infant.
I work as a Paramedic at a local hospital and in between emergency calls I am responsible for assisting in the emergency department. My wonderful wife is a Registered Nurse who works in labor and delivery. Both of us have developed a serious respect for the necessities of accurate vital signs - including core body temperature.
My Personal Test
While I knew that the Pacifier Thermometer simply wouldn't work based on principle alone, I thought that I would give it the benefit of doubt and test it out myself. Placing it securely in my mouth I endured 90 seconds of my wife laughing at me as it read my own "oral temperature." I made sure to keep my mouth completely closed as recommended by the manufacturer. When the pacifier started to beep I took it out of my mouth and immediately read the digital read out: 95.6 degrees Fahrenheit. I then immediately took my temperature with a standard sublingual thermometer: 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
A difference of over three degrees.... not good.
Just for the record, if an infant did in fact have a temperature of 95.6 degrees, the infant would be considered borderline hypothermic. Newborns in a maternity ward with a temperature of 95.6 degrees would be placed under heat lamps. See where I'm going with this??
Problems With Acquiring a Temperature
While I haven't subjected my own 20 day old son to the nonsense of trying to take a temperature with this piece of junk, I could just imagine the difficulty I would have trying to acquire a temperature through the pacifier. At this point in his life, my son has the facial strength and mental capacity to keep an ordinary pacifier in his mouth for about 45-60 seconds before it falls out. That's on a good day, when he's not feeling sick and running a temperature. Next time your own infant is legitimately sick, do your best to try and keep a pacifier in his or her mouth for 90 seconds and see how well that works for you.
The Bottom Line
As you can clearly see from this and other reviews, the concept behind a digital pacifier thermometer just doesn't work. Through my personal tests and considering medical logic it is clear that this product is not only ineffective and inaccurate, but dangerous as well. Moms and Dads to be... do yourself (and your child) a favor and learn how to take an rectal temperature.
And for those thinking this is the greatest 21st century invention and the perfect present for that Bridal Shower.... keep looking.