Pediatric Pulse Oximeter

Pulse Oximeter For Children and Infants


Pediatric pulse oximeters are similar to regular pulse oximeters except that they are designed to fit smaller fingers. Pediatric pulse oximeter has smaller opening so the sensors can be attached to their fingers. Some handheld pediatric oximeters use Y-sensor probes that wrap the sensor around the patient's toe, sole or palm. See pulse oximeter probe for more information on where to apply pulse oximeter sensors.

For infants and young children, a handheld pulse oximeter with pediatric oximeter probe is preferred over a finger pulse oximeter. For a handheld oximeter, only the sensor is attached to the patient and this minimizes the issues caused by the patient's movement. Furthermore, with different types of probe, it can grasp onto the patients better.

A study was performed to determine the precision and accuracy of pediatric pulse oximeter readings at different locations with 50 critically ill children, from newborn to two years. The results indicated that readings at toe were more accurate than at sole and readings at palm and fingers were comparable. However when the SpO2 was less than 90%, readings from the toe and finger were more accurate than those from the sole and palm.

The Newborn Foundation is an organization that advocates strongly in favor of using this portable technology to help save newborns. To learn more about this foundation and the importance of screening for oxygen saturation with pulse oximetry watch the video below.

You can also use any finger pulse oximeter for infants and children; however to get an accurate and reliable reading, there are two things that you must be aware: the placement of the finger in the pulse oximeter and the movement of the finger.

A finger tip pulse oximeter shines two lights (red and infrared) through the finger and then computes the oxygen saturation based on the amount of light absorbed by the body. For a reliable reading, the finger must be placed properly between the light sources and their sensors. This can be a problem if the opening is too big for the finger. One can see the red light by looking at the oximeter opening where the patient inserts his finger.

Several seconds are required to take a reading and during this short period, the finger must be still. One needs to hold the patient's hand and fingers during the measurement. Using a Y-sensor probe with a handheld oximeter may help.

A pediatric neonatal pulse oximeter is simply a handheld pulse oximeter with a Y-sensor probe.