We thank Dr Chamberlain for his interesting letter. We agree that rectal temperature is not the best indicator of core body temperature; however, we believe it is the best clinical technique available. It is, by far, the most commonly used method to approximate the core body temperature. Therefore, we chose to correlate the supralingual (pacifier) temperature reading with the rectal one.
We conferred with J. Bean, PhD, the statistician of the study. Dr Chamberlain has commented on the 95% confidence interval for the difference between rectal and supralingual temperature.We examined the 95% confidence interval for the mean difference, whereas Dr Chamberlain calculated the percentiles in which 95% of the actual individual differences lie. In other words, we wrote about the average differences one can expect using the pacifier thermometer and Dr Chamberlain is referring to the extreme variations that can be found. We believe our statistical approach is more meaningful.
Quinn B, Press S. Pacifier Thermometer Comment—Reply. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(2):207. doi: