Infant mortality for low birth weight and premie babies is a significant issue around the world. Approximately 4 million of them die of hypothermia within the first four weeks, mostly because they can’t maintain a high enough body temperature on their own. The Infant Warmer could be an effective life-saver.
Currently being developed by the San Francisco-based non-profit Embrace, the Infant Warmer looks like a small sleeping bag but includes a sealed pouch in a pocket that contains a phase-change material – a wax-like substance – that can be heated with an electric hot water heating unit or with hot water itself. The wax will melt within 20 minutes, then will maintain a human body temperature of approximately 37C (98.6F) for four to six hours without added electricity.
The pouch will absorb any extra heat if the baby gets too warm or, if the baby gets cold, the pouch will release additional heat. As the pouch cools, an indicator will show that it’s time to reheat it. Hypoallergenic, this small sleeping bag can be autoclaved or cleaned with local disinfectants and the pouch can be reheated hundreds of times. This potentially life-saving product – with an anticipated price of just $25 -is still in development and investors are definitely wanted. Something so simple can make a profound impact and is definitely worth the investment.