Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Developmental care: a guide to the latest products

Developmental care refers to a range of strategies designed to improve the neonatal unit environment to reduce distress in a premature or sick baby. Developmental care interventions can have positive effects on neural and physiological development and include: reducing painful stimulations; reducing noise and light (eg ear muffs, incubator covers); minimising handling and permitting longer periods of sleep; ensuring early contact with caregivers (eg skin-to-skin kangaroo care); using positioning aids and using a dummy (soother/pacifier) to provide comfort and promote non-nutritive sucking.

The VELA Neonatal Chair from Walters Medical is designed to provide optimum comfort for parents to sit during kangaroo care sessions while also enabling them to stand and sit independently. With capacity to vary positions, the chair gives parents the opportunity to sit with their child for long periods. The user can easily change their position while sitting by adjusting the multi-position settings. The chair can be raised to the desired height using the electric height adjustment, allowing parents to sit or rest at a suitable height to reach their child in the incubator. Users can sit up by themselves and get up from the chair while holding their baby, without having to call staff or put down their child; the central brake ensures that the chair is stable.

The VELA Neonatal Chair from Walters Medical.

Also from Walters Medical, Sonic Ear Muffs are specially designed to protect the sensitive cochlear of premature babies and to shield off background noise disturbances for a quieter developmental environment. They are effective at reducing noxious environmental stimuli within the nursery, which results in more stable sleep, improved physiological stability, optimal oxygenation and a decrease in respiratory rate and pulse. With at least 7db reduction in sound and 360-degree protection, Sonic ear Muffs are MRI safe.

Sonic Ear Muffs from Walters Medical.

Delta Medical International has an extensive range of positioning products, baby nests, incubator covers and gel cushions that can be used to improve developmental care in the neonatal unit. The Benjamin care range of products was developed with NIDCAP (Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program) specialists. The Benjamin ComfyNest offers a reassuring environment for babies while the ComfyStar, ComfyKiss and Comfy head support help with positioning and comforting. Benjamin incubator covers minimise external stimulation and light; they are available for all incubator brands.

Jellies gel support pillows and cushions provide soft, supple support for the baby’s head and body. They are pliable, allowing them to be folded to adjust size, thickness and support. The non-porous film combines ultra-soft properties with durability. Water-based non-toxic, food grade gel with preservatives is used to eliminate risk of mould or fungus. Disposable baby-soft covers help provide extra comfort for the patient and can be easily replaced if they become soiled.

The Delta Medical International range also extends to TurtleTub swaddle bathing blankets and bath tubs, which promote a calm and relaxed environment for babies to enjoy a family-centred swaddle bathing experience.

The Benjamin care range from Delta Medical.

From positioners to masks, pacifiers and blankets, Central Medical Supplies (CMS) offers a full range of developmental care aids for neonatal units. The Small Beginnings Calming Cuddle Blanket is a weighted blanket for infants between 34 and 40 weeks. The latex-free blanket provides enough pressure for sensory input to support physiological stability, while the four sections keep too much weight from being placed on the baby. It is machine washable and can be reused on different patients. The Small Beginnings Bed Buddy with fleece cover is easy to use and has been designed to quickly surround and interface with the infant, providing a soft rebounding surface. It is available in three sizes: newborn, preemie and ultra preemie.

The Small Beginnings Calming Cuddle Blanket and Bed Buddy from CMS.

The diverse range of positioning products from Inspiration Healthcare offers flexible and stable support to help make preterm and ill babies more comfortable and physically stable. The Frederick T Frog is a versatile, frog-shaped beanbag positioning aid designed by a neonatal nurse to help achieve goals for develop-mentally supportive positioning. It may be placed around the head, neck or hips, or used to position an extremity. Portions of Freddy can be adjusted separately for special positioning needs.

The Frederick T Frog from Inspiration Healthcare.

The Birdy prone positioning cushion supports the infant in a position that is oriented towards the body’s centre line and promotes a better balance between the flexor and extensor muscles. The cushion is shaped to support the natural curvature of the shoulders, hand-mouth coordination and optimum alignment of the head and body. The infant achieves a relaxed, flexed position without exerting too much pressure on the knees and elbows. Birdy is available in four sizes and has the option of securing flaps.

Birdy positioning cushion from Inspiration Healthcare.