why we need change

Care for the sick newborns has been very successful in the last decades and as a result the mortality of extremely preterm infants has decreased substantially. However, the surviving babies suffer from developmental - cognitive and behavioural problems. This leads to difficulties at school and has a major impact on the future of these infants and their loved ones. There is growing awareness that the developmental impairments are caused by the pain and stress that these preterm infants experience during their stay in the incubator at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Another important factor in this respect is the separation from their mother. In order to improve the development of these preterm infants we have to provide solutions that help reduce pain and stress and promote mother-child bonding.



Monitoring of vital signs (cardiac function, respiration and temperature) is obligatory in premature infants, because these functions are frequently disturbed and often require immediate action of nurses and doctors. Up to now monitoring is carried out by the use of adhesive electrodes that are fixed to the chest of the babies.  The use of adhesive electrodes is associated with pain and stress for the babies: inadvertently their hands got entangled in the electrode wires and cause pain when they stretch their arms and pull indirectly on the skin of their chest. Another source of pain is the removal of the adhesive electrodes from his skin by the nurses. It is important to realise that the skin of a premature infant is very vulnerable in comparison with a full term infant.


Little wires connect the electrodes on the baby's chest to a cable that leads to the monitor, where the vitals signs are displayed on a screen. These wires make it difficult for parents to easily take the baby out of the incubator and put the baby on the chest to provide Kangaroo Care. There is always a nurse required to help the parents get their child out of the incubator. This limits the amount of Kangaroo Care that parents can give to their baby!