High-tech thermometers allow parents to identify students’ conditions, keep kids healthy

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SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- A Northland school is trying some new technology to share information and keep healthy kids from getting sick. It all involves a high-tech thermometer in the school and a new way for parents to communicate about their kids' coughs and sneezes.

A dose of communication can keep healthy kids from getting sick. Students at Smithville Primary Elementary School are getting used to seeing the Kinsa Smart Thermometer around the school nurse's office. Cassie Lawhon has spent a decade in the medical field, including the last year as this school's nurse, serving more than 500 kids every day.

Lawhon believes this special thermometer, which can record a family's temperatures to a mobile app, is keeping kids healthier. Parents can make anonymous posts to the school’s corresponding message board, informing other moms and dads about any contagious symptoms they see in their own kids.

“If you're a family, and you have multiple members of your family, you might know when you start to see a trend,” Lawhon said.

When parents talk with one another, kids with a fever or cold can be isolated more quickly, and that can stop a bug before it spreads.

“They can see the symptoms coming and know what to expect,” Lawhon said.

Amy Cangelosi's son attends this school, and she's used the smart thermometer's message board to read about illnesses that are going around.

“There's a blog and it's anonymous. You can let other parents know the symptoms your kiddo has or what's going around the school or what to look out for,” Cangelosi said.

The ultimate goal for Lawhon and the smart thermometer is to reduce the number of school days students miss due to sickness. Lawhon says it's working, because now, sickness isn't spreading as quickly.

The company that makes the smart thermometer is making the gadgets available to parents at that Smithville school. It’s one of only 100 schools in the nation to be included in the program, and the only school in the metro.