Printable patient identification wristbands with barcodes are standard in the healthcare industry, with thermal printing being the most efficient and effective print method. In pediatric hospitals, ensuring the safety and proper identification of young patients is paramount, with pediatric-sized wristbands being a critical tool in achieving this. Thermal printing technology has emerged as the preferred method for producing these wristbands, and for good reasons.

1. Durability and Longevity

Thermal printers use heat to transfer patient information and barcodes onto wristbands, resulting in highly durable prints. This is crucial in a hospital environment where wristbands are exposed to various conditions, including frequent washing, sanitizing, and general wear and tear. Thermal-printed wristbands remain legible throughout the patient’s stay, ensuring continuous identification without the risk of fading or smudging.  This is particularly important in pediatric hospitals where the patient’s length of stay might be longer term. ScanBand DR and ScanBand Soft patient ID wristbands, for example, can last up to 16 days.

2. Reduce Waste

Hospitals using standard laser printers are often forced to print an adult wristband along with the pediatric wristband since they’re on the same sheet, even if the adult band isn’t needed. They also have to print whole or half sheets of labels along with the wristband. While some of these may be used on patient files and documentation, many are wasted on a daily basis.  

This is not only a waste of paper and adhesive used for the labels, but also a potential privacy risk if the unused labels aren’t disposed of according to HIPAA guidelines.

 A thermal print solution eliminates the need to overprint and then dispose of wristbands and labels containing confidential patient information, minimizing this waste.

Additionally, given the increasing focus on sustainability, pediatric hospitals benefit from using thermal printers that minimize waste and do not require toner or inks, making them a greener option in hospital settings.

3. Improve Patient Safety

Thermal printers produce high-resolution, scannable barcodes and clear text, which are essential for patient safety in pediatric hospitals. Accurate barcodes on wristbands are crucial for medication administration, reducing the risk of errors. The clarity of thermal printing helps healthcare providers easily verify pediatric patient information, ensuring that the right treatments are given to the right patients.

Laser patient ID wristbands are also typically printed on a shared, centralized laser printer. This shared printer can get backed up with multiple print jobs, which can cause both inefficiencies and patient safety risks. If ID bands for multiple patients are printed using a shared printer, there’s a risk the staff can grab the wrong ID band for their patient. 

With the switch to thermal, pediatric hospitals can enjoy the convenience and added safety of having a printer available at each workstation.

4. Increase Efficiency

In a pediatric hospital, time is of the essence. Thermal printers are known for their rapid printing capabilities. With fast printing and seamless integration with your EMR, thermal printing makes check-in and treatment efficient. They can produce high-quality wristbands quickly, which is essential during busy periods or in emergency situations. The swift turnaround time allows healthcare providers to focus more on patient care.

5. Reduce Cost

Thermal printers have lower operating costs compared to other printing technologies because they do not require ink or toner. Additionally, thermal wristbands are typically lower cost per band compared to laser wristbands.

By integrating these strategies and utilizing PDC’s specialized products, you can enhance the efficiency of your autoclave processes, ensuring that your facility maintains the highest standards of sterility and safety.


PDC shares in healthcare providers’ commitment to providing a safe and reliable patient care environment, providing hospital professionals with high-quality identification solutions for over 65 years. PDC provides a wide selection of Thermal Printable Wristbands that help hospital staff seemlessly identify patients for the entire duration of their visit. With a vast portfolio and custom manufacturing capabilities, PDC is uniquely qualified to be a trusted supplier and partner. 

Talk to a PDC representative today if your pediatric hospital is considering a switch to thermal printing to enjoy these benefits.

Source: PDC, by Brady

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Why Thermal Printing is Preferred by Pediatric Hospitals
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Why Thermal Printing is Preferred by Pediatric Hospitals
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In pediatric hospitals, ensuring the safety and proper identification of young patients is paramount, with pediatric-sized thermal wristbands being a critical tool in achieving this. Learn more about the reasons why thermal printing technology has emerged as the preferred method for producing these wristbands.
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Jess Johnson is the Senior Brand Manager for Healthcare at PDC, helping to communicate to healthcare customers how PDC solutions can help them with workplace and patient safety. She joined PDC in 2019, with a background in B2B marketing communications and content creation. Jess has Marketing and Journalism degrees from Miami University in Oxford, OH. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Jess now lives in Santa Clarita, CA with her husband and pit-lab mix, Cashmere.