Refine My Line: Embrace Infant Warmer

embrace_infant_warmerToday’s Refine My Line entry is a public service (hat tip to Jinjer who sent the link).

The Embrace Infant Warmer is designed to keep fragile newborns warm instead of incubators. At just 1% of the cost of an incubator, the infant warmer can make a significant reduction of infant mortality rates in developing nations -its intended locus of implementation. Speaking of, Embrace is a 501c3 social enterprise.

When I was looking at the warmer, three immediate ideas for improvement sprang to mind. One was related to function, keeping the infant warm. The second was related to yield and the last was an additional sewing step to correct a possible safety concern for the smallest of babies. As usual so you don’t think I’m cribbing from your efforts when I write the follow up, I’ve posted my comments in the forum. I thought the infant warmer would be a great challenge for RML and provide public benefit too.

At this writing, I haven’t had a response to my email mentioning we’ve collectively volunteered to improve this product so I have no idea how welcome the results of our efforts will be. In any event, it will still be a functional challenge (probably half the work I do in private practice is product engineering to specific purposes like this rather than apparel). I will let you know what if anything I hear back. It’s all for a great cause people!

For now, go here to see how the unit works; at right is a photo of a prototype. And if you’d like to leave a donation, see this page.

So put on your thinking caps to improve a product with meaning. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Thanks everybody.

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12 comments

  1. I’ve read your comments, so I won’t give them away! I think this is a great public service, and I hope they heed your advice.

    Question: What purpose do you (or anyone) think the loops at the corners serve? If they’re to hang it when it’s open and not in use, wouldn’t 1 serve?

    The one they show in “product versions” is different. I wonder what stage of development this is in.

    Marguerite

  2. Lesley says:

    As a Mum of a 14 month old, the first thing that I saw was how close the wrap was to the baby’s face – both underneath and above.
    I’m assuming that the loops at the bottom loop over the buttons at the front to make it smaller and higher if needed?

  3. Clara says:

    Personally, I would worry about suffocation; either from the loose fabric of from the baby squirming down into the bottom of the bag. For the first the fabric could be sewn down, especially at the top seam. As for the second, is there anyway the bag can get tighter. Similar to how infants are swaddled tightly in blankets. This is for newborns, so they probably would prefer to be wrapped tighter anyway.

    Looking at the site, they did have another version that seemed better.

    Great idea and cool product. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Clarisse says:

    My first thought in terms of improved warmth was a shape similar to those mummy sleeping bags used for wilderness camping–cut closer to the body and with a drawstring around the head to keep in the warmth…although drawstrings can’t be used on infant products and even an elastic around the hood would be tricky with the smallest of infant heads.

  5. JInjer says:

    Marguerite,

    Maybe the ladies of Embrace will pipe in with better information, but when I talked to them at the convention where I learned of the invention, they said they had already started trials in India, where access to electricity is more reliable (the temperature maintaining wax insert can be warmed by an electric warmer, or by boiling it over a fire, but I gathered the boiling method was not as good. I’m not sure why), and they will be branching out if that goes well.

  6. I will give it some thought as I’ve had some interesting response to my Noonie. Would love to speak to them about some of the issues I came across when I was first developing it, although my product is not intended for for ICU infant care.

  7. Laura says:

    The head is wherethe most heat is lost, so it’s a very important design, and the mother’s body , whenever available, is the most important incubator: skin to skin contact and heartbeat, smell, all encourage the thriving of a baby at risk. So ideally there would be an easy way to a heive this. Onta t thru the chest and front of body withi
    Out having to expose the back.

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