Development of the Baby Incubator

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A baby incubator is an instrument that is used in hospitals to maintain environmental conditions in levels that are suitable for a new born baby. Mostly, the apparatus is used in cases of premature babies or other cases ill full-term babies. The development of baby incubators started in the 19th century and was mainly developed to maintain thermal stability in low birth weight (premature babies) and sick new born. These actions are meant to improve the babies' chances of survival. The production of baby incubators has seen remarkable improvements that are meant to safe more baby lives. Experts have states that despite all the improvements that have been made regarding baby incubators, they still need new improvements concerning temperature and humidity control. Future baby incubators are meant to minimize heat loss from the neonate and eddies around the infant CITATION AEW82 \l 1033 (A.E. Wheldon, 1982).

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High noise levels remain an unresolved issue in the development of baby incubators, where the infants get exposure to high noise levels in the neonatal intensive care unit. Noise from the outside environment of the incubator is a major source of stressful stimulation that can agitate and further complicate medical management of the infant. To reduce the noise that infants are exposed to, designers aim at using strategies that are aimed at modifying the behavior of neonatal intensive care unit personnel, as well as including structural improvements to the incubator to make it more suitable. The noise at the incubator comes from mostly human factors both outside and inside the incubator. Personnel can contribute to the noise through having conversations around the incubator, closing and opening doors, the hood of the incubator being accidentally banged or opening and papers or bags. In the process of designing new incubators, the light environment that the new born baby is exposed to should be taken into consideration. Light affects the infants negatively in that premature exposure to continuous lighting environment may affect the rest-activity patterns of the baby CITATION Rob09 \l 1033 (Antonucci, Porcella, & Fanos, 2009).

Another factor considered when designing baby incubators is the effects of electromagnetic fields on the infant's health. Information regarding how electromagnetic fields can affect an infant is still unclear. Scientists state that the information regarding effects of electromagnetic fields has not been yet proven. Despite this, future incubators are being designed in such a way that electromagnetic fields will not be exposed to new born babies CITATION Ken021 \l 1033 (Kent, Tan, Clarke, & Bardell, 2002).

During the development of baby incubators, regulating temperature for the new born is an important factor, since temperature affects the survival of the newborn. Premature new babies are disadvantaged as compared to other infants hence their temperature needs to be maintained. Premature babies needed a lot of care to cushion them from temperature effects, because of a greater skin surface area to body mass ratio, low supplies of brown fat and decreased subcutaneous fat CITATION Amy01 \l 1033 (Johnson, 2001).

Ever since the 19th century, extraordinary progress has been made in the design and production of baby incubators, contributing to reduce the neonatal illness and death. Modern baby incubators are highly technological devices. Nonetheless, some issues in the development of an ideal baby incubator remain unresolved. In particular, future incubators should provide a more comfortable and safe microenvironment for the newborn by improving temperature and humidity control and reducing his/her exposure to noise, light, and electromagnetic fields CITATION AEW82 \l 1033 (A.E. Wheldon, 1982).


BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 A.E. Wheldon, N. R. (1982). The heat balance of small babies nursed in incubators and under radiant warmers. Early Human Development, 131-143.

Antonucci, R., Porcella, A., & Fanos, V. (2009). The infant incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit: unresolved issues and future developments . Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Pediatrics and clinical medicine , 1-13.

Johnson, A. N. (2001). Neonatal response to control of noise inside the incubator . Practice applications of research , 1-10.

Kent, W. D., Tan, A. K., Clarke, M. C., & Bardell, T. (2002). Excessive noise levels in the neonatal ICU: potential effects on auditory system development. Journal of Otolaryngology , 354-356.

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