Kids and Computers: Toasted Skin Syndrome

laptops can lead to toasted skin syndrome
It's called a laptop, but you should use it there.

Laptop computers are great because you can use them anytime, anywhere.  But experts say that one place you shouldn’t be using your laptop is on your lap.

Lots of things, like bagels, nuts and pumpkin seeds, are better when they are toasted.  But skin?  Not so much. But if your kid’s got her computer perched on her lap while she surfs the Internet or plays games, she might actually be cooking up some thigh meat without even knowing it.

The underside of a laptop computer can reach as much as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. When that much heat is applied to skin for prolonged periods of time, it can cause a condition called toasted skin syndrome.  It looks like a mottled rash, but is actually a burn.

Under a microscope, doctors say the damage looks similar to what you would see after long-term sun exposure. Those who suffer from toasted skin syndrome risk permanent skin discoloration and, in rare cases, cancer.

And for men who don’t have kids yet but would someday like to, consider this:  The heat from a laptop can raise the temperature of sperm enough to cause fertility problems.

Obviously, the answer is to put something between the laptop and the legs.  They make laptop desks specifically for that purpose.  But if you are out and about and don’t have access to your handy little desk, just slip your laptop carrying case between the computer and your thighs and you’ll greatly reduce the heat on your legs.

Image: pictureyouth/Flickr

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