This mum discovered the dangers of infrared technology the hard way

This mum discovered the dangers of infrared technology the hard way

Many parents aren't aware of the unknown dangers of infrared technology. But one mother's thermometer caused a lot more worry than necessary!

Marina Reznikov was at home with her newborn daughter Aria a week ago when she spiked a fever. The mum of three had an infrared thermometer at home, so she spent the next 24 hours monitoring Aria’s temperature, which hovered between 38.1 and 37.4.

With an infant, any temperature – however small – can be cause for concern, so Marina and her partner called the nurse helpline for advice. There was no on-call doctor available so the nurse called the paramedics. Even though the paramedics found her temperature to be normal, they took Aria to the hospital. Marina posted her story in a Facebook group: 

“Last night we made a totally unnecessary trip to the hospital thanks to a pretty expensive/crappy infrared thermometer. Ours was reading 38.1 and only going as low as 37.4 for 24 hours. We checked with the paramedics and they were getting normal readings. They took us in anyway just in case.”

dangers of infrared technology

Baby Aria in the hospital. | Image source: Kidstock

Unnecessary panic 

It turned out that Aria was perfectly fine- it was the thermometer that was the problem. Marina said,

“The doctor said they have this happen at least once a week and it’s always the ‘special baby infrared thermometers’… what have I learned? What I already knew and forgot about: Clever marketing and large price tags usually means it’s a sh*t product. Just because it costs more, doesn’t make it better.” 

Marina told Kidspot that she was determined to get the word out about overpriced, ineffective thermometers. She shared her post in the hope that it would help others.

In her case, the reading turned out to be completely normal, but for many, it might be the opposite and a child may be even sicker than first thought. Marina said more than anything, she was concerned with how big the problem seemed to be. “I found it alarming that he (the doctor) said he sees this once a week. That’s just one hospital! How many resources are being wasted across the board?” 

Marina said that she had contacted Nuk, the manufacturer who assured her that they would send the thermometer off for testing but that they hadn’t had any complaints so far. She conceded it was more likely a problem with the infrared technology in general rather than this particular product, however she told Kidspot that, “there was a lady on my post who commented saying she had the same model and there was a 2 degree difference each time”. In a little baby, just two degrees could have massive implications. Another mum commented that her infrared thermometer once read 58.7 degrees- which obviously couldn’t have been accurate! 

dangers of infrared technology

Doctors all recommend under the arm thermometers are best. | Image source: iStock

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Under the arm is best

The emergency doctor told Marina that the best way to get a temperature from a baby is under the arm, and it’s advice echoed by many of those who commented on her post, including a nurse. 

“I am a paediatric nurse and NSW Health policy is to only use underarm thermometers as these are the most accurate in our little ones. Thank you for sharing!”

Everyone agreed that it was really important that Marina was sharing her story as far too many people rely on infrared thermometers, thinking because they cost more, they must be more accurate. Marina was determined that going forward she’d only be checking Aria’s temperature using a – much cheaper – under arm thermometer. “The only reason I even posted – and called the manufacturer – was because this is a thermometer specifically marketed for babies. So I was alarmed. There definitely needs to be more awareness.” 

Kidspot contacted Nuk for comment and has not yet received a response at time of publishing.

dangers of infrared technology

Marina is so glad that Aria is safe and well. | Image source: Kidspot

This article was first published on Kidspot and republished here with permission. 

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Written by

Kidspot Editor

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