Accuracy of Pacifier Thermometers in Young Children

Carie A. Braun, PhD, RN


Pediatr Nurs. 2006;32(5):413-418. 

In This Article


This investigation was designed as a prospective, cross-sectional, within-subjects study. The researchers accessed a convenience sample of children (N=25) between 7 days to 24 months of age in one pediatric hospital-based setting. The location was selected due to accessibility of children in the desired age range, as well as the potential to access children in a febrile state. The study protocol was approved by the appropriate Institutional Review Board.

The sample size of 25 was determined based on alpha=0.05, power 80%, estimated effect size=0.80. The estimated effect size is based on a potential mean difference of 0.8°F (0.5°F adjustment + 0.3°F potential error reported by manufacturer) and standard deviation of 1.00°F. An estimated 20% of the children (n=5) were anticipated to be febrile. Febrile was defined as a rectal temperature 100.4°F or higher (Brennan et al., 1995; Herzog & Coyne, 1993; Potter & Perry, 2001). Inclusion criteria were those children in the desired age range without gastrointestinal illness or other contraindications for supra lingual or rectal temperature measurement including, but not limited to, oral surgery and anogenital malformations. Use of an orthodontic style pacifier was required. Children who refused the pacifier or resisted rectal temperature measurement, by crying or moving excessively, were excluded.

Data collection occurred over a 6-month period. Approximately 489 children were hospitalized on the pediatric care unit within the desired age range during the time of data collection. Of these, 244 parents (50%) were not present to provide consent, 83 (17%) did not approve use of a pacifier, 46 (9%) declined participation to avoid the rectal temperature measurement, and 50 (10%) of the children had a gastrointestinal disorder. The remaining did not provide a reason for declining participation. The final response rate was 18%, based on 439 eligible participants (50 patients with a gastrointestinal disorder were not eligible) and 25 that agreed to participate.


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