What are some important features to consider when selecting infant incubators for standard use?
Besides the standard infant incubator design there are several features to consider. One important and often overlooked feature is the storage capacity of the infant incubator cabinet. Since most are mounted on a mobile counter top style cabinet, it is essential to have some protected storage space for supplies and medical equipment. Many models offer three drawers under the incubator unit with different sizes, perfect for storage of all the basic medical and care supplies for the infant. Since most infant incubators will be mounted on castors, it is essential for all four of the castors to be locking. This provides the greatest stability when the incubator is in use or in storage, but still allows the option for easy, safe and smooth movement of the infant in the incubator when needed. Locking positions of the tabletop area of the incubator is also essential so that both the normal and reverse Trendelenburg positions can be maintained securely for correct positioning of the infant. How do transport infant incubators differ from standard models? Almost all models of infant incubators will be on castors for easy movement; however infant incubators specifically designed for transporting critically ill, newborn or premature babies will have some additional features to ensure they can be used even if the incubator has to be moved by ambulance outside of the health care facility. Transport infant incubators will have their own battery that is located within the base of the unit. These batteries will be constantly charged when the incubator is plugged into a standard outlet and in normal use. When the unit has to be unplugged for transport within or outside of the facility it will automatically switch to battery power. Most transport infant incubators also have the capacity to be plugged directly into the power supply in an ambulance, preventing the need to rely completely on battery power when not in a stationary position or being moved only short distances. What are the safety features found standard on most on infant incubators? An infant incubator is designed specifically to keep the baby's temperature at 37 degrees Celcius as well as a add oxygen and specific levels of humidity to the air to assist the baby in breathing and maintaining a constant environment with in the incubator. Since even a slight temperature change either up or down can be fatal to premature or critically ill babies it is essential for all incubators to have alarms that monitor both the environmental temperatures as well as the actual temperature of the baby. Oxygen and humidity sensors can also signal alarms in some models of incubators. For transport models of infant incubators additional safety features such as a low battery warning are also considered to be standard safety items. These types of incubators will also have specialized access areas on the clear cover of the incubator that can allow the staff to access the baby in transit without having to raise the cover and change the internal temperature and humidity.