Article written by Dr. Daliah
Infrared thermometers are the latest craze this year, used by every industry one could think of as they test customers and patients for a fever “hands-free.”
Yet their shape and use may confuse the young child watching their parent have something aimed and shot at their head.
Infrared thermometers work by focusing infrared light onto an object to detect and then measure radiation/energy from the surface (i.e. forehead/near the eyes). A thermopile within the thermometer converts the infrared energy to electrical energy. The latter gets sent to a detector which gives us a temperature read.
Although some sources cite the inner eye to be the most accurate heat sensor, most users of the thermometer will point it at a person’s forehead. A laser helps the user aim towards the body part they want to measure.
There are many sizes and shapes of infrared thermometers but many have taken the shape of a weapon.
Young children who see their family members safely take a “hit” by a thermometer may not understand the difference if they accidentally get a hold of a real gun.
This isn’t a once a year mercury thermometer check at an annual physical. Thermoscans are done at every store, school, restaurant, and location where guidelines urge temperature screens.
Seeing this multiple times a day could numb a child to the danger of pointing a “weapon” at one’s head.
Parents should speak to their children about not mimicking this activity and IR thermometer manufacturers might want to make a safer-looking design.