Good News for the Littlest Babies
Infants who spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit are often hooked up to a tangle of wires to monitor functions such as blood pressure, breathing, and heartbeat. But this can be stressful for both babies and parents and can serve as a barrier to physical bonding. Scientists from Northwestern University are seeking to change that by developing soft, wireless sensors that they think will make for a better NICU experience. Already tested on 70 NICU infants, the wireless sensors accurately measured vital signs and made it easier for parents to hold their babies skin-to-skin. The wireless patches were also gentler on the skin than the traditional sensor adhesive. Researchers say the wireless technology could appear in hospitals within two to three years.