Infants require a stethoscope specifically designed with small diameter tubing to provide better acoustics. The use of stethoscopes on infants began in the early 1800s when a French physician, Rene Laennec, first used a rolled-up piece of paper to amplify heart sounds. Today, there are many different types of stethoscopes available on the market.
Features of a good infant/pediatric stethoscope:
- The small diameter of the bell and diaphragm: This is to provide better acoustics when listening to faint heart and lung sounds.
- Thin-walled tubing: This is to minimize extraneous noise (from the user’s body, clothing, etc.) that can interfere with auscultation.
- Lightweight design: A lightweight stethoscope is easier for a pediatrician to carry around and use for long periods of time.
- Non-chill rim and diaphragm: This is to prevent the patient from feeling a cold sensation when the stethoscope is placed on their skin.
How to use a stethoscope on an infant:
- First, find a quiet place to listen to the infant’s heart and lungs. Make sure the area is free from distractions such as other people talking, TVs playing, etc.
- Next, position the diaphragm of the stethoscope on the infant’s skin. The diaphragm should be placed directly over the area you wish to listen to. For example, if you are listening to the heart, place the diaphragm on the left side of the infant’s chest.
- Once the diaphragm is in place, use your earpieces to listen to the sounds coming from the infant’s body. You may need to adjust the positioning of the stethoscope or move it around to get the best acoustic view.
Tips for choosing the best pediatric stethoscope:
- Stethoscope design and size of parts: Look for a stethoscope with a small diameter bell and thin-walled tubing. This will provide better acoustics when listening to faint heart and lung sounds.
- Weight and portability: Choose a lightweight stethoscope that is easy to carry around. Pick models that do not exceed 3.5 pounds in weight.
- Comfort: Make sure the stethoscope is comfortable to use. Look for models with non-chill rims and diaphragms to prevent the patient from feeling a cold sensation when the stethoscope is placed on their skin.
- Non-chill rim and diaphragm: Look for a stethoscope with a non-chill rim and diaphragm. This will prevent the patient from feeling a cold sensation when the stethoscope is placed on their skin.
- Price: Pediatric stethoscopes can range in price from $25 to $200. Choose the model that fits your budget and needs.
- Tubing: Choose a stethoscope with thin-walled tubing. This will minimize extraneous noise (from the user’s body, clothing, etc.) that can interfere with auscultation.
- Digital: Some stethoscopes are now available with digital features. These models can be more expensive but may offer features such as the ability to record and store heart and lung sounds, or interface with a computer for analysis.
Reviews of the Best Pediatric Stethoscopes:
Our overall best pediatric stethoscope in this list is the 3M Littmann Classic II Pediatric Stethoscope.
The 3M Littmann Classic II Pediatric Stethoscope is specially designed for auscultating children. It delivers Littmann’s highest acoustic performance along with a handcrafted, eye-catching design. The tunable diaphragm responds with a simple pressure change to capture low and high-frequency sounds, and the two-in-one tube design eliminates noise interference from two external tubes rubbing together. The included Special-Procedures Adaptor (for infant or pediatric auscultation) adds versatility to the instrument.
The 3M™ Littmann® Classic II Pediatric Stethoscope which was released to the market back in 2006 is currently the most popular stethoscope for pediatric use. Its patented single-sided chest piece features a non-chill rim and diaphragm to facilitate patient comfort, while its patented tunable diaphragm allows you to listen over both low and high-frequency ranges with one instrument. The Classic II’s anatomically designed headset is angled to meet the path of the ear canal and comes pre-assembled on the tube allowing it to be worn immediately.
You can read its manual here.
- -Lightweight and comfortable to use
- – Excellent acoustic performance
- – Versatile (can be used for both infants and children)
- – Available in a wide range of colors
- – Reasonably priced
- – Some users may find the earpieces too small
Our second pick is by 3M Littmann also and was released to the market in 2009.
The 3M Littmann Stethoscope, Classic II Infant is a dual-sided chest piece and floating diaphragm stethoscope that provides high acoustic sensitivity for listening to low (bell) and high-frequency sounds.
The special design and sized dual-sided chestpiece help assess and diagnose infant patients. The anatomically designed headset is angled to meet the path of the ear canal, and latex-free materials accommodate allergy-sensitive users. The non-chill rim and diaphragm offer welcome patient comfort.
– Suitable for both low and high-frequency sounds
– Specially designed for infants
– Comfortable to use
– Reasonably priced
– Some users may find the earpieces too small
The Ultrascope pediatric stethoscope is a great choice for those looking for an inexpensive, yet high-quality stethoscope for kids. This model features a dual-sided chest piece with both a bell and diaphragm, as well as a non-chill rim and diaphragm to prevent discomfort during use.
The Ultrascope pediatric stethoscope is designed for superior sound performance, durability and convenience. It’s compact and sensitive enough for use with children or adults and is manufactured with strong, lightweight materials for hours of comfortable use. The stethoscopes come with crack-resistant delrin polymer, PVC, stainless steel and latex-free construction.
The Ultrascope pediatric stethoscope is the perfect choice for clinicians who need a high-quality, lightweight stethoscope that can be used on patients of all ages. The Ultrascope offers superior sound quality and durability, and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
– Dual-sided chest piece
– Non-chill rim and diaphragm
– Lightweight and durable
– Lifetime warranty
The ADC Adscope 604 pediatric stethoscope offers incredible acoustic performance, due to its proprietary adjustable frequency design (AFD) technology. It can be used with light pressure for low frequencies, and firm pressure for high frequencies. The pediatric chest piece is precision CNC machined to exacting tolerances from surgical stainless steel, and the non-chill bell and diaphragm provide wide frequency response and patient comfort.
The ADC Adscope 604 is a high-quality pediatric stethoscope that is lightweight, comfortable and easy to use. The stethoscope has an overall length of 30 inches and comes with 2 additional pairs of ear tips. It also comes with a storage pouch and a complimentary scope ID tag. The tubing is made from phthalate-free PVC and the headset features a silicone reinforcing yoke molded into flexible tubing for comfort. The binaural are stainless steel and the ear tips are soft and pliable. This product has a lifetime warranty as well as free parts
– High quality acoustic performance
– Lightweight and comfortable
– Easy to use
– Phthalate-free PVC tubing
– Lifetime warranty
-Not as comfortable to wear.