Refine My Line: Embrace Infant Warmer pt.2

danger_thermpodThanks for your help; I also heard back from the project manager in response to yesterday’s entry. Rajan Patel says (in part):

As for the safety issue, you are absolutely right and this is something we had noted. The picture you have seen and uploaded is actually one of a much older design. Our new design is much thinner and has adjustability straps to prevent slipping of the infant. We’ve also opened the left and right sides of the hood area in order to ensure that the infant does not suffocate. I have attached some images of the new design but please note that the name “cocoon” that is shown is not actually the product name and has since been changed to “thermpod”.

Context; I had only mentioned the safety concerns to him by email; the design improvements were trifling in comparison. I will follow up with him and keep you posted. The images he mentioned weren’t attached; I know we all forget to do that.

embrace_infant_thermpod_modifiedNow onto your responses. Marguerite asked what the loops were for and several of you contributed ideas. I don’t know and I haven’t asked (yet).

Clara was first to mention (what I thought was) the safety concern, specifically the billowing of the lining inside the hood (photo at top right). This is loose enough that a smaller child could suffocate within its folds.The solution for this is in construction, to tack the center of the hood lining to the center of the hood’s shell. At that point it should be re-evaluated for the possible necessity of a second row of stitching off to either side, tacking the lining to the shell.

Clarisse mentioned bringing the hood in closer around the face but mentioned the caveat of no drawstrings. Drawstrings are illegal here and in the UK (perhaps Canada?) but nowhere else that I know of. They’re banned because kids get them caught getting off the bus or merry go round. I’m not sure it would be an issue in this case.

Both Clara and Clarisse mentioned bringing the unit closer to shape the baby’s form. I agree that rounding off the corners is beneficial. First is that heat is conserved within the unit if it’s not heating wasted space -which is critical since one quarter of a baby’s body length is in their head so a gaping opening represents a substantive heat loss. The second benefit to streamlining the design is that it could possibly reduce material use and costs although we can’t really know; the latter may not amount to much in the way of savings depending on the marker’s design.

Again, thanks for your input. I will post more once I hear back from Rajan.

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3 comments

  1. Marie-Christine says:

    Sorry, I keep missing part 1 of these rml, it’s not as much fun :-(.
    I totally agree with the tacking down of the hood lining, one layer of fabric on a very small baby’s mouth could be fatal. I also agree with the drawstring ban, since I’ve had to rescue my cat who was hanging herself on a blind cord (don’t ask me why..). The point of a drawstring would be to be drawn, and so you’d necessarily have hanging bits, and a preemie just can’t brush them off its face or out of its throat or whatever.

    Rounding at least the bottom corners makes a lot of sense too. This shouldn’t be very different from sleeping bag design, right? In which case trying to get a shape that conforms as closely as possible to the baby (while not requiring custom fit) would be best, just like a mummy bag is better than a boy-scout flat one. Perhaps velcro strips would allow more adjustability to the baby’s size than buttons? I’d add that in my opinion the best improvement to sleeping bags in the last 30 years has been the draft collar, which keeps freezing drafts from working their way down into the bag. But they’re not technically easy, I’m not sure they couldn’t become a suffocation hazard too, and it’s possible a baby wouldn’t need them as much because they’re less likely to toss around as a grown-up camper on the inevitable mid-back rocks?

    As a former preemie myself (a 2lb survivor of the 50s natural-selection methods), I’d like to point out that doctors insisted on 2 things that seemed to make a huge amount of difference. The first was breastfeeding, which in retrospect seems entirely right, when possible. The other, which I’ve never seen mentioned anywhere, was to insist my mother keep me touching her as much as possible. This was of course before the current ‘don’t sleep with the baby’ paranoia, meant to prevent suffocation by drunk parents (and it’d have been hard to get that drunk after my birth, even in a French hospital). But they thought that her body warmth was the most sensible and reliable way to keep my temperature high enough, and it seemed to do the trick. Or at least I’m considerably heavier now :-). My sister, bottle-fed in a cold incubator in a US hospital, has just never been quite healthy, in comparison.

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