A newborn baby experiences thermal instability after delivery. The temperature of mother’s womb is higher than the air temperature of the delivery room. It is vital to prevent the fall in infant’s temperature as it can even increase the mortality risk.
It is necessary to provide immediate infant warming right after delivery as a baby has four times bigger capacity to loss of heat than a grown-up. Its temperature can fall by 1-2°C over 30 minutes. If a newborn baby loses heat rapidly, it leads to a phenomenon called ‘cold stress’. Oxygen consumption and metabolism increase, and this can even lead to hypoxia. Powerful, safe, and controlled radiant warming reduces cold stress and prevents the baby from further negative effects.
In case the baby’s metabolic capacity is limited, the thermal stability is essential. For instance, if the infant is premature, ill, or has low birth weight, the warming is paramount to its normal development. However, it is vital to keep the infant’s temperature within the thermal neutral zone and not to lead to heat stress as well, because as a result, the infant uses most of its metabolic capacity for thermoregulation, and not much is left for growth and survival. When oxygen consumption and energy expenditure are stabilized in the Thermal Neutral Zone, later it is minimized promoting normal growth.
Types of Baby Warmers
Infant warmers are used in labor and delivery wards, NICU and newborn care areas. They can be of various types depending on the functions they can provide.
Standard Infant Warmer
A standard infant warmer has an integrated basin, tilt mechanisms, a transport handle, heaters, and temperature controllers. Some warmers provide irradiance across the mattress, integrated timer, dual side-swivel heater hood providing access for X-rays and other procedures, visible and audible alerts, etc. Most warmers are easily transported.
Mobile Baby Warmer
This baby warmer consists of a stand with locking castors, a heater, an apgar timer, an examination light, and one or several timers. It can be positioned over a bassinet, a bed or an examination table. Usually it has several modes including Prewarm, Baby and Manual Heater.
Wall Mount Warmer
The warmer of this type is fastened to the wall. It is equipped with a heater, light, apgar timer and has several modes.
This polyethylene occlusive wrap is used to reduce temperature decline and evaporative heat loss in premature infants and the ones having very low birth weight.
Low-Cost Infant Warmer
The warmer of this type looks like a small sleeping bag. It is made of phase change material that keeps the temperature for 6 hours. It functions without constant supply of electricity. Low cost of this warmer makes it affordable for people living in developing countries.
Infant Leg Warmers
When the baby has overcome thermoregulation processes, it is time to take care of the clothes that can protect the child from the negative impact of the environment. You should consider the leg warmers as a protection for baby legs:
- while the child is learning to crawl;
- in spring when you don’t need full pants;
- in summer to protect the skin from the sun;
- to keep the legs warm in cold weather.
Keep a pair or two in the dresser, and you will see how useful they are.