Are Infrared Thermometers Harmful to Kids?

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Infrared thermometers, also called non-contact handheld thermometers, have been gaining a strong foothold globally since the early 2000s. These affordable lightweight thermometers have different applications. However, their use primarily focuses on checking humans temperature. Doctors praise the medical-grade infrared thermometers well for their quick temperature results and accuracy.

You can use an infrared thermometer to measure the body’s temperature without actually bringing the device close to contact, which is advantageous in case of viral infections like the Coronavirus affecting the entire world since January 2020. Plus, they are non-invasive, making it less complicated for anybody to use.

Although they are being used in hospitals in the US and globally, and by tons of people at home, some folks still think infrared thermometers are harmful to babies and some parts of the human body such as the eye. Could this be unfounded, or is it just that the idea that the thermometer uses infrared is scary to some folks? Well, not to worry, this piece is primarily aimed at breaking open the questions surrounding the safety of infrared thermometers on humans. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

CATEGORIES OF INFRARED THERMOMETER

There are three grades of infrared thermometers according to various uses and accuracy. They are industrial-grade, medical-grade infrared and, consumer-grade infrared thermometers. However, the industrial-grade thermometers are not accurate enough; hence they aren’t used much by people. The medical-grade infrared thermometers are the ones used in hospitals and by most people in the world. Medical-grade infrared thermometers are those with the highest accuracy requirements, which is between 0.1 and 0.2 degrees.

SAFETY OF INFRARED THERMOMETERS ON HUMANS

At this point, you must be asking if you can use an infrared thermometer on humans. Well, that’s easy to answer. Infrared thermometers are safe to use on humans and do not lead to any harm. So far, there’s been no case of injury reported of medical-grade IR thermometers.

Another thing is infra-red thermometers do not cause eye damage. According to Feng Luzhao, a researcher from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, using infrared thermometers is not harmful to the eyes and body.

Do infrared thermometers emit radiation? This is a common question posed by people who hesitate to use IR thermometers. Based on how infrared thermometers work, they do not emit radiation. IR thermometers only measure radiation emitted from human skin. However, it would be best if you use an IR thermometer that is FDA approved. This means it has been tested and stamped safe for use on adults and babies.

However, laser-guided models, although normally harmless, should not be targeted near the eyes as even low power lasers can damage the eyes. So, for medical applications, it is recommended that you use non-laser guided models for safety reasons. So there’s no need to worry about using an infrared thermometer on your baby or adult at all.

ARE INFRAFRED THERMOMETERS SAFE FOR KIDS?

When your kids feel sick, the first thing you do is check for a fever, and infrared thermometers are a sure way of getting an accurate temperature result. Infrared thermometers are safer than mercury thermometer because mercury is dangerous to humans. IR thermometers don’t harm kids’ body parts as they don’t have radiation. These thermometers work by reflecting the infrared wavelength of heat dissipation from the human body. However, they use batteries to function, and if kids swallow them, they can become harmful.

Knowing how to use an infrared thermometer on a baby makes it easier to get accurate temperature results. The steps are simple to follow.

  1. Hold the infrared sensor above your subject, and press down the button.
  2. The e-digital display will bring up the temperature reading, accurate to 0.4°F (0.2°C), with a matching color code.
  3. Wait and repeat. Store up to 64 temperature readings so you can track the progress of your kid’s fever.

Also, for kids three months to 3 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using rectal, axillary (underarm), or tympanic (in-ear) for the most accurate readings. The AAP recommends these infra-red thermometer type of tests as your kid grows: Under three months (Rectal), three months to 3 years(rectal, axillary, and tympanic). 4 to 5 years (rectal, oral, axillary, and tympanic), and five years to adult (Oral, axillary, and tympanic)

CONCLUSION

Infrared thermometers are entirely safe for use on humans, including kids, but you must know how to use it well, so you don’t get the wrong temperature check. Anyone who holds an infrared thermometer would find them light, super easy to use, and possessing a fast reaction time. It gives accurate temperature results due to its advanced technology, and quite durable so you wouldn’t need to worry about it being damaged from a fall anytime soon. Fears that IR thermometers are harmful to kids are unfounded generally. IR thermometers are the safest method of checking your kid’s temperature without any fuss.

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