Biometric identification is proven to not be as effective among children, with a recent study confirming the most challenging age group being the under 4 years.

Despite this, common biometric modalities – fingerprint, iris and face recognition – are highly skilled in recognising adults and embedded into practical healthcare treatments and administrative practices.

The commissioned report comments on a prospective clinical trial researching the accuracy of biometrics in newborns and young children for vaccinations and registration at birth. Standard devices used upon children are widely non-accurate however amid a possible wave of promising technologies in the market, some countries are enforcing registered births using biometrics. The standard of adult recognition is sufficiently regulated and technically advanced to be used for national ID programs and use by private companies.

Enrolments in clinical settings are currently held back by a lack of infant compliance and carer consent as two ethical requirements which must be sought.

The lower bound of child fingerprint and palm prints contributed to the tests on just under 494 children were found to be affected by poor body function in the infants that caused their more delicate skin to deform under the scanner.

The young children participated in clinical testing at a hospital in Tijuana, Mexico from the beginning of January 2028 until September 12, 2019.

In declaration of the high performance of biometric technology used, identity professionals developed “a platen-free optical approach” to support the infant finger with “appropriately sized apertures while allowing the acquisition of high-resolution images of fingerprint minutiae without disrupting the finger surface”.

From 15 days to 30 days into the trial, quantitative analysis demonstrated an improved recognition rate across the modalities at an acceptable standard for clinical practice. Early scanning or delayed intervals were detrimental to accurate results in conjunction with the effect of skin losing density over time.

Free space fingerprinting could improve identification for newborns and children during vaccinations. The report also suggested that re-enrollment could help to simplifying biometric scanning as  ageing takes place.