A brand new digital thermometer goes on sale this month which could help families with elderly relatives to protect against cold related death as winter closes in. Inspired by a family bereavement and using digital technology, the Temperature Optical Monitor, or Tom for short, uses a unique concept to encourage communication, awareness and assistance for those most at risk from hypothermia, stroke, heart disease and lung problems which can be exacerbated by cold weather.

Research from charity Age UK and the Office of National Statistics shows that approximately 27,000 extra deaths occur each winter, 9 in 10 of which are older people.  A second report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and conducted by The Marmot Review Team approximates that those living in colder homes are three times more likely to die from a cold related illness.  The creators of TOM calculate that 175,000 people will be admitted to hospital this year as a direct result of cold weather and, alarmingly, over 1 million people will need to visit hospital as an outpatient. In most cases, these admittances will not be caused by sudden, harsh drops in temperature. Many cold related illnesses are caused by slow and gradual drops in temperature over a sustained period of time. As we get older, our bodies do not respond as well to changes in temperature, meaning that in a lot of cases older family members may not even realise that the colder temperatures are causing damage to their health.

Founded as a social mission to help families and friends do more to prevent cold related deaths, Tom is a simple thermometer designed to raise the alarm when the room temperature drops below optimum levels. With so many elderly loved ones lost unnecessarily to hyperthermia, respiratory problems and other cold related illnesses, its creators Target Holdings hope that the product, which will launch on 15 October, will raise awareness and help more vulnerable family members manage the cold better.

Tom’s easy to read room temperature display screen alerts the user when the temperature has dropped to harmful levels. Between 16 and 18 degrees it will flash every 6 seconds with the large word ‘COOL’ being displayed. If the temperature drops below 16 degrees, which can cause serious risk to health, Tom will flash blue every three seconds and now display the large word ‘COLD’. Above these temperatures Tom will simply display ‘OK’ or ‘GOOD’ if the room is at, or higher than, the optimal 21 degrees.  

Transforming standard digital technology into a groundbreaking concept, Tom has been developed to encourage discussion and stimulate awareness of the problems caused when winter hits. The creators know that sometimes the older generation may be reluctant to turn up their heating due to concerns about rising energy bills rather than their own health. By simply asking “How’s Tom?” family members can quickly and easily identify if there is a problem and provide help where it is needed.

As well as the thermometer itself, people who purchase a Tom are provided with a whole host of useful information on topics such as preparing for a harsh winter. Steven Parker, creator of Tom says “Our product is designed as a reference point to determine if a problem exists, but beyond that the solution is not simply just to turn up the heating; we provide information and resources to allow the families of elderly relatives to gain advice for winter preparation including grants, initiatives and other energy saving techniques.

“We want to encourage families to provide their loved ones with a Tom, and ask 'How's Tom?' regularly. If the response is ‘he's COOL’ or ‘COLD’ and flashing blue, then there could be a potential health issue looming which means something needs to be done.”

More than just a product, Tom is a catalyst for change that enables people to help protect the ones they love. The unobtrusive design includes an easy to read large LCD screen, descriptive word indications and a cold preparation checklist. Tom is priced at £19.99. For more information and to buy online visit

Please direct press queries to Rebecca Appleton at Dakota Digital. Email or Tel: 01623 428996.

Formally known as Clarity Vision Limited, Target Holdings (UK) Limited has been born out of a management buyout in Jan 2013.

Combining the strengths of the existing management team, and bringing former members back into the fold, Target Holdings is well placed to offer a complete product supply solution. The company offers product development and sourcing, warehouse and logistics, sales and distribution and disposal stock planning.  Customers of Target Holdings can work with selected divisions or take advantage of a complete turnkey supply chain solution.