How to take thumb impression of a baby

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how to take thumb impression of baby

This article will discuss about different ways of how to take a baby’s thumb impression. 

A baby’s thumb impression is the first form of identification you can provide for your child. It is important to do this correctly because a baby’s fingerprint is the only way of identifying them.

The best time to do this is when they are born, but it could be done at any point in their life if needed.

Let us dive right in!

1. What is a baby’s thumb impression, and why do you need it ?

Fingerprints of Infants are needed  for vaccination tracking, delivery of supplementary food, and national identification documents,

baby thumb impression

A baby’s thumb print or finger prints can be used to identify the child if he or she goes missing or is a victim of human trafficking. 

How to Take Baby’s Thumb Impression?

The fingerprinting process involves taking impressions from the fingertips of both thumbs on a piece of paper using special ink that leaves no residue when dried. There are special machines which can digitally capture the prints  This procedure should only be done after the first six months of life because fingerprints are not fully developed until this time period.  However for some newborns the prints can be taken right after birth

What is the best way to take baby’s thumb impression?

You can do this in two ways

1.Conventional ink-to-paper method

You will need:

• A clean finger or toe

• An ink pad and pen/pencil

• Some white paper

Take off all jewellery before doing anything else with your hands. This includes rings, bracelets, watches etc.  

It is important to get this done right!

The conventional way can be described as follows :

  1. Seat the child in a comfortable upright position, preferably in a car seat
  2. Make sure their hands are clean and not too dry
  3. Apply baby safe ink on the the tips of the fingers and thumbs evenly so that they are properly covered
  4. Press the fingers on a clean sheet of paper, which should be kept on a table or a thick book
  5. Apply pressure and hold the baby’s fingers for a few seconds
  6. Ensure that the paper does not get smudged.
  7. If your child does not co-operate during this process, you could distract them by giving them something to hold, which you would not otherwise give them, like your phone.

2. Digital Recording of fingerprints

Here Digital Biometric readers are used to capture Thumb impressions and finger prints of infants with resolutions as high as 1270 ppi, which are needed to capture prints of newborns.

For bigger children , a resolution of 500 ppi is adequate which is available with commercial off-the-shelf readers


Can I do it myself or need professional help?

You can do the conventional method at home if you follow the guidelines mentioned above

If you want digital records, you would have to go to a proper Lab or diagnostic centre where these optical readers are available

Do babies have their own unique prints?

As per Anil K Jain, Lifefellow IEEE 

“We show, for the first time, that fingerprints acquired from a child as young as 6 hours old exhibit distinguishing features necessary for recognition, and that state-of-the-art fingerprint technology achieves high recognition accuracy (98.9% true accept rate at 0.1% false accept rate) for children older than 6 months. Further, using mixed-effects statistical models, we show that the recognition accuracy is not significantly affected over the one year time lapse in our data.”

For more details read this post

He says that even the prints collected from a 6- hour old child are unique and sufficient to identify him . And even after a period of 1 year, the baby can be identified by the same prints.

He also says that 

“Biological evidence, on the other hand, suggests that fingerprints are fully formed by the sixth month of fetal life and are physiologically present on human fingers at birth “

What he is saying is that fingerprints are fully formed by the time the child is born, and so prints can be taken at birth itself. There is no need to wait for 6 months after the birth.

Are there any risks involved in taking baby’s thumbprint?

There are no known health risks associated with the practice of obtaining a child’s fingerprint. The only risk is that you may be asked to do it more than once, which can become annoying and time consuming for parents. 

You should use Baby safe ink which is free from harmful chemicals and make sure you clean the baby’s fingers properly, with soap and water. 


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Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier.
They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics

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