General Question

pepp7377's avatar

How much heat is require to maintain the temperature of a baby that weighs only 1.5 kg?

Asked by pepp7377 (61 points ) October 10th, 2011

This is a question for a friend of mine who a chemistry in India who is trying to develop a low cost device to keep babies warm in areas without electricity.

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11 Answers

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pepp7377's avatar

Let’s say it’s room temperature, and the baby is wearing a thin garment. I’m not a doctor, but my understanding is that babies require a certain heat input or their vital signs become dangerously high/low. The question is: how much is that heat input (measured in kCal, joules, etc).

keobooks's avatar

Kangaroo care is probably best if there is no electricity. It’s good for micropremies with electricity too. They found that body heat helps the premie regulate his temp and keeps his heart beath and respiration more regular.

I’ve wondered before if someone could make some sort of battery powered sling that could keep all the wires and tubes stable and running while someone sat still with the baby for long periods of time. In some places, family members could take turns.

pepp7377's avatar

I’m not sure Kangaroo care would work for days and weeks on end.

Cupcake's avatar

The device would need a temperature probe, as the warmth required depends on weight, gestational age, and baby’s temperature. Link

Search terms: neonatal thermoregulation

pepp7377's avatar

I think the question still stands unanswered.

RocketGuy's avatar

Babies generate their own heat, being warm blooded creatures. The trick is to keep the heat from escaping. The low cost answer is blankets for the body and a hat for the top of the head.

Kayak8's avatar

I saw this one on a tv special (designed by Stanford, it is available in India). Keeps babies warm for 4–6 hours before reheating. $150 vs $20,000 for incubator. It requires no electricity. Here is another article about the device.

pepp7377's avatar

Great suggestions. The problem with blankets is that the baby isn’t producing enough heat to warm itself, even with sufficient number of blankets.

As for the Embrace device designed by the Stanford folks, it’s a great idea. But for the vast majority of India’s poor that’s too expensive a solution. Devices like those are marketed towards government procurement agencies. We’re trying to build one for small clinics, at a fraction of a cost.

Anyone know the answer to the original question?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Aluminum foil works, but only for minutes, not hours.

I have seen @Kayak8‘s suggestion on TV as well. I recommend @pepp7377 that a solution like it be found. $150 is a rather affordable amount of money. If need be, your friend should be contacting charitable organizations to help get funding for the clinics.

Kayak8's avatar

A baby’s temperature needs to be maintained at 98.6 degrees F. I have no idea “how much” heat that would take (ambient air temperature, the baby’s starting temperature, etc.) all have to be taken into account to answer your question directly.

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