European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 178, Issue 7, pp 1125–1127 | Cite as

Laryngoscope burn risk in neonatal intubation

  • Emer RyanEmail author
  • Paul O Neill
  • Dermot Brabazon
  • John F. A. Murphy
Short Communication


Laryngoscope burns in neonatal intubation

Following burns during neonatal intubation, we mounted an in vitro study of laryngoscopes to determine the temperatures reached during clinical use. The temperature of 10 different bulb laryngoscopes heads and two fibre optic heads were measured with a thermocouple, once opened, and upon closing. Within 60 s, all ten laryngoscopes, with light-bulb sources, had gained significant heat to cause thermal injury to neonatal skin. Laryngoscopes with LED light source and fibre optic heads did not.

Conclusion: We recommend that the bulb laryngoscope blade, if used, is not left open prior to intubation and that it is closed between intubation attempts.

What is Known:

The preterm epidermis is particularly vulnerable to injury.

What is New:

Bulb laryngoscope light bulbs consistently reach temperatures sufficient to burn neonatal skin in less than 100 s in an in vitro study.

Bulb light safety advice should be incorporated into intubation guidelines.


Laryngoscope Intubation Thermal burn Neonates Epidermis 


Authors’ contributions

ER drafted the study. All authors were involved in the design of the experiment. PON performed the experiment and recorded the results under DB’s supervision. ER wrote the final manuscript. JFA critically revised and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical statements

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants/and or animals

“This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.”


No individual participants included in the study.”


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeonatologyNational Maternity HospitalDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.School of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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