The Difference Between a Pediatric Stethoscope and a Regular One
it is an unfortunate fact of medicine that you simply cannot use a regular stethoscope to diagnose a small child. There are several obvious reasons and some that may not be so obvious. For example it is obvious that the chest of a child is smaller than that of an adult so you will need both a diaphragm and a bell that are smaller and can fit more properly.
What may not be so obvious for some students of medicine is that in order to hear a specific sound you need to place the stethoscope on a precise area of the upper body, and because the child’s body is so small, if you use a regular stethoscope you may not be able to focus on just one set of sounds.
There is also the problem of getting the child to standstill while doing the auscultation, so while with an adult you can use a cold stethoscope, pediatrics stethoscopes absolutely have to use some type of non-chill technology, or you may end up not being able to properly diagnose your patient.
Finally, since it is inevitable that you will have to deal with difficult or shy children, it is quite important to have all the accessories that may quiet down a troubled child. So having a child friendly stethoscope, either a very colorful one or one that actually looks like a toy, will help more than you think.
What to Look for in a Pediatrics Stethoscope
while it is true that you do need a child friendly stethoscope, one that looks nice and fits his body properly, the most important thing about a stethoscope will always be the acoustic properties. So you need to know for a good quality stethoscope with a good diaphragm, a tube technology that avoids false sounds and a comfortable fit for the ear piece.
That you be itself is the most important part, precisely because so many people tend to forget about it. Old school stethoscopes used to have 2 tubes, one next to the other, and no matter how well they were fixed, in time they still got some wiggle room and started to create some noise of their own. Some of the best modern stethoscopes have developed their own technologies that deal with that problem. Each company has its own patented method but they all do the same thing so the only challenge is to find the ones that have actually dealt with the problem.
Our Top 5 Best Pediatric Stethoscopes
So taking all of that into consideration we have sent out to search for the best pediatric stethoscope on the market. We have been looking not only of the design factors but also on its auscultation properties. We also took into consideration the price you have to pay for each one of these stethoscopes, particularly because doctors, students, and nurses will have different budgets and different quality requirements. So make sure to scroll boss the following table to find the in depth reviews we have created for each stethoscope.
1. Best Pediatric Stethoscope If Price Is Not an Issue – Best for a Pediatrician
While we were not specifically looking for the most expensive stethoscope on the market, the very best pediatric stethoscope happens to be also one of the most expensive. It is not really the most expensive stethoscope, but it is pretty expensive so we would not recommend this for a student who is only doing a pediatric rotation. Still, if pediatrics is your main focus, or you are actually working as a pediatrician, then you will need to spend a little bit more and get the 3M Littmann Classic II Pediatric Stethoscope.
- Dual sided chest piece and floating diaphragm provides high acoustic sensitivity for listening to low (bell) and high frequency sounds
- Special design and sized dual sided chest piece is ideal for pediatric patients
- Anatomically designed headset is angled to meet the path of the ear canal
- Latex free materials accommodate allergy sensitive users
- Non chill rim and diaphragm provide welcome patient comfort
There is a reason why 3M Littmann stethoscopes are so expensive: they are the best and there is no doubt about it in anyone’s mind. They have used the same high quality membrane in the pediatrics stethoscope that they use in the adult sized ones. This is the dual sided chest piece that really provides the better auscultation properties, and especially when compared to the single-sided ones.
It uses a floating diaphragm so it is more accurate and also will last a lot longer. The headset is exactly the one find the in the adults stethoscope, so if you have ever used the 3M Littmann stethoscope before, this will feel very familiar and comfortable. The entire thing is latex free and comes with a chill free rim so you will not have any problems using it, even with more difficult patients.
2. Best Pediatric Stethoscope on a Budget – Best for Students
if you are a medical student doing your pediatrics rotation, you probably will not want to spend that much money on a stethoscope just for children. In reality the auscultation properties of an $80 stethoscope and a $20 stethoscope is not that great. The differences are significant for an experienced doctor, particularly for a pediatrician, but if you are a student you may not be able to appreciate the difference.
- ADC's AFD Technology design switches between bell-like low frequency and diaphragm-like high frequency performance simply by altering pressure
- Non-chill bell and diaphragm retaining rim for patient comfort
- Lightweight aluminum binaurals in matching satin finish
So the ADSCOPE Animal Scope, maybe the best choice for you. It is a single sided chest piece so you need only to change the pressure in order to hear the different types of sounds. It is actually accurate enough that you can use it on infants as well as on children up to 18 years of age. So yes, in principle, you could even use it on an adult, but given the funky look of the stethoscope you may not want to. The animal faces are actually interchangeable, and you get 7 of them, so you are guaranteed to please any of your small patients.
3. Best Pediatric Stethoscope for the Money
The sad truth about the world the pediatrics today is that there may actually be doctors who cannot afford to spend the money it takes to own a 3M Littmann, and, in actuality, there may be students who want or need to have that edge even during their pediatrics rotation, so they may not be satisfied with the ADSCOPE Animal Scope.
- Combination pediatric chest piece precisely machined to exacting tolerances from surgical stainless steel for outstanding performance and rugged durability
- Extra large bell (1 1/8" dia.) for unsurpassed low frequency response
- 3 3/8" diameter diaphragm for greater amplification and crisper high frequency transmission
- Non-chill bell and diaphragm retaining rim for patient comfort
- Reinforcing yoke molded into flexible 22" PVC “Y” tubing
For all of those specialists, and in particular for pediatric nurses, the best pediatrics stethoscope is the ADSCOPE 604. This is actually at Adscope’s answer to the 3M Littmann. It has a dual sided chest piece, with an incredibly accurate diaphragm, non-chill rim, and anatomically designed earpieces. In all fairness we have to admit that the actual audio properties of the Adscope are actually comparable to the Littmann.
Where they actually grow apart, not miles but significantly, is in how comfortable the earpieces are. If you only use the stethoscope 5 or 6 times a day they are not actually that bad, but if you need to use it often, meaning 5 or 6 times an hour, they can get a little bit uncomfortable. So while we do love the affordable price range and auscultation properties, we do see why those who can would choose the Littmann.
4. Honorable Mention 1
why we do things that the top 3 choices we have already given you are the best pediatric stethoscopes on the market today, there are a couple of stethoscopes that really caught our attention. The MDF® Sprague Rappaport Dual Head Stethoscope needs to be featured here because, despite the fact that it uses a dual tube configuration, it also has the most interesting feature.
- Handcrafted Since 1971 | Free-parts-for-life Program | Lifetime Warranty | Latex-free
- TRADITIONAL 5-IN-1 SPRAGUE DESIGN > With included adult, pediatric, and infant attachments, empowering you with the convertibiliy to diagnose all patients
- CUSTOM FITTED > Accufit headset adjusts to your specifications
- TWO SOUND CHANNELS, ONE FOR EACH EAR Duel Lumen Tubing
- Diagnose Adult, Pediatric, and Infant patients with one stethoscope
You can switch between a pediatric, and infant, and a regular size chest piece. This gives you a much more versatile stethoscope, that may actually be incredibly useful to medical students. The stethoscope itself is very well put together and at least with the new model we were testing, we could hear no sounds coming from the 2 tubes rubbing together.
The chest piece themselves are dual sided so they are much more accurate and, a feature that will help a lot of students is the fact that you have a green dot to point out the active sound channel. While the ear tips were not the most comfortable you have ever tested, they deemed provide the best sound isolation properties which, if you are a student practicing among other noisy students, can be of immeasurable value.
The one thing that you careful with is the fact that the chest piece is not chill free, or the technology they are using is not as good as others we have tested, so you should take a little bit of extra time to warm it up before using it on a child.
5. Honorable Mention 2
we were so impressed with the MDF stethoscope that we decided to also mention their exclusive premium pediatric stethoscope, the MDF® MD One Stainless Steel Pediatric Stethoscope. This one has all the features you would want, including a colorful tube and a non-chill rim. It looks and feels very comfortable, although the earpieces are still not the best we have tested, but the auscultation properties are excellent and the chest piece is perfectly fitted to the stethoscope.
- Handcrafted Since 1971, free-parts-for-life program and latex-free
- 100% stainless steel construction and acoustically-superior stainless steel
- Pediatric stethoscope: high quality auscultation
- Prevent punctured ear drums - patented safety lock: ear tip adaptors are non-invasive and leads the industry in user safety
- Pre-angled- ErgonoMax headset is anatomically angled at 15 degrees for a precise fit
You get the lifetime warranty and we encourage you to get the replacement parts program that comes with it. Through that program you can change for free any part of the stethoscope like the earpiece on the diaphragm, and given that a pediatric stethoscope will get much more wear and tear than the regular one, you are sure to get to use this feature.
there is no such thing as the best pediatric stethoscope, that is only the best pediatric stethoscope for a specific professional on a specific budget. That is why we have endeavored to test and categorize the very best products on the market today. You may want or need to jump ships, that is to say you may be a student who can afford a 3M Littmann, or you may be a pediatrician who has to get the job done using an Adscope stethoscope, but whatever the case may be we are now confident that you can make an informed decision about what precisely you are buying into.