A medical engineers view on suitable premature baby clothes

As an adult patient we rarely consider the clothes that we wear whilst we are in hospital. Even when the hospital gives you a loose fitting gown to wear for an operation or whilst they are placing monitoring equipment on to you as the patient do we really give much thought to the reasons behind their requests.

For premature and poorly babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s (NICU) and Special Care Baby Unit’s (SCBU) we show extra concern for the well being of the child and yet as concerned adults we sometimes miss the opportunity to make sure that the clothing they wear is really the best suited to the environment in which the baby is being cared for.

The majority of premature baby clothes do not allow for the easy access required for staff and for the medical devices that constantly monitor a poorly babies condition. As a medical engineer these devices are then on occasion reported faulty and then must be repaired and fully tested by the Electro-Biomedical Engineering Department (EBME) or in some instances by external companies contracted to look after the devices. This can cause delays if there are no spare units available or that the staff are unable to locate spare monitor and sensor leads for the equipment.

How can the monitor and sensor leads become damaged?

The leads must be deformed through a tight radius and pushed or pulled in to position on clothes that are not specifically designed to allow easy access. Over time the constant flexing and re-flexing of the leads causes internal damage. The equipment may as a result start to give inaccurate readings, of which the staff are unaware. This causes possible concern when there is no real need, or of NOT raising an alarm when one is perhaps required. If the device leads break completely internally then a fault is more apparent, however, until the staff are able to fit new monitoring leads to the baby and test equipment there is no way of knowing if the error is the leads or with the device it self. This results in more disturbance of the poorly baby, more concern and worry for the parents and more concern and stress for the medical staff involved. To minimise the possibility of such issues arising it would be ‘best practice’ to have the premature or poorly baby wearing clothes that eliminate or greatly reduce such occurrences.

Well designed premature baby clothes like those offered by Prem2Pram are designed and manufactured after consulting with the NICU and SCBU staff of local hospitals as well as discussions with a range of medical engineers some of whom have nearly 30 years experience in the EBME field. The ideas and suggestions from all the staff involved across different aspects of the babies care have been considered and implemented to offer a range of premature baby clothes that are comfortable, stylish and as medical environment friendly as possible.

premature baby clothes

As a grandparent of a premature baby and as a medical engineer with family and friends with over half a century of EBME experience I can wholeheartedly suggest to all parents of premature and poorly babies to think carefully about the clothes that they use whilst in hospital and recommend the parents to consider the range of premature, NICU and SCBU clothes offered by suppliers such as Prem2Pram. A little extra care taken in advance can save so much stress and anxiety for everyone involved, from baby to hospital staff, from parents to grandparents and even family friends.



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