In a scale-space framework, the Gaussian kernel has some properties that make it unique. However, because of its infinite support, exact implementation of this kernel is not possible. To avoid this drawback, there exist two different approaches: approximating the Gaussian kernel by a finite support kernel, or defining new kernels with properties closed to the Gaussian. In this paper, we propose a polynomial kernel family with compact support which overcomes the Gaussian practical drawbacks while preserving a large number of the useful Gaussian properties. The new kernels are not obtained by approximating the Gaussian, though they are derived from it. We show that, for a suitable choice of kernel parameters, this family provides an approximated solution of the diffusion equation and satisfies some other basic constraints of the linear scale-space theory. The construction and properties of the proposed kernel are described, and an application in which handwritten data are extracted from noisy document images is presented.