Are Infant Positioners Safe?

Infant positioners are common in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Designed to provide support and comfort to premature and critically ill newborns, they play a crucial role in neonatal care. Under the guidance of healthcare providers, infant positioning aids and infant sleep positioners are used as part of a holistic approach to developmental care.

What Are Infant Positioners Used For?

Infant positioning aids are soft, cushioned devices that help position babies in ways that promote optimal development while minimizing discomfort. They are particularly useful for premature infants who lack the muscle strength to independently maintain a comfortable or safe position.

These devices differ in size and texture to prevent premature and ill babies from lying in potentially hazardous positions while receiving treatment in the NICU. Devices such as the Better Bendy Bumper and Frederick T. Frog are versatile and can be molded into different shapes depending on the neonate’s needs.

These devices serve several vital functions in the NICU, including:

  • Preventing Plagiocephaly: By providing a firm sleep surface, sleep wedges, and positioners keep the baby’s head from always resting in the same position, preventing flat head syndrome.
  • Supporting Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip: Proper positioning helps correct the hips’ alignment, reducing the risk of hip dysplasia. A firm mattress for babies to rest and sleep on during NICU stays keeps them in a safe, comfortable position at all times.
  • Aiding Respiratory Function: By maintaining proper alignment, positioners can support better respiratory function, especially in preterm infants with underdeveloped lungs.
  • Enhancing Baby’s Sleep and Comfort: Positioners help stabilize preterm infants, promoting better sleep patterns and reducing stress for safe sleep. They can also help minimize acid reflux in infants struggling with gastroesophageal reflux disease by stabilizing their heads.
  • Facilitating Medical Procedures: By keeping the infant in a stable position, positioners reduce the need for frequent repositioning, allowing for more efficient and less stressful medical procedures.

Best Practices for Infant Positions in a NICU

In the NICU, healthcare professionals carefully control and monitor the use of an infant positioner or infant sleep positioner. The controlled environment of the NICU, with continuous monitoring of infants, makes them safe for use. Neonatologists and nurses are trained to use different types of sleep positioners to maximize benefits while minimizing potential risks.

Here are some of the ways NICUs ensure the safe use of infant positioners.

Adherence to Strict Guidelines

NICUs follow evidence-based practices to ensure that positioners are used safely. This includes regular training for staff, thorough assessment of each infant’s needs, and constant monitoring to ensure that the infant remains in a safe position.

Selection of Safe Products

Positioners are selected based on their design and safety features, prioritizing products that have been tested and approved for use in medical settings. Only those positioners that meet high safety standards are used in the NICU.

Continuous Monitoring

Infants in the NICU are continuously monitored by healthcare providers, parents, and caregivers, who help promptly identify and address any potential issues that may arise from the use of positioners. This constant monitoring ensures that the infant’s airway remains unobstructed and that the infant is in a safe and comfortable position.

Parental Education

Parents play a crucial role in understanding and supporting the use of infant positioners in the NICU. NICU staff provide parents with information about the benefits and potential risks of positioners, demonstrate their proper use, and explain the measures taken to ensure safety. This collaborative approach helps alleviate parental concerns and fosters a trusting relationship between the medical team and the family.

Research has shown that infant positioners in the NICU can have significant benefits when used correctly. Proper positioning can aid in developing motor skills, improve overall comfort, and facilitate necessary medical procedures. Adherence to strict guidelines and protocols is key to the safe use of this medical device.

Safe and Effective Infant Positioners from International Biomedical

Infant positioners are safe and beneficial when used correctly in the NICU under the guidance of trained healthcare professionals. International Biomedical manufactures high-quality infant positioning products to meet the delicate needs of premature and critically ill infants. By prioritizing safety and education, we strive to support the health and development of the most vulnerable patients in the NICU.