Neonatal care is an intricate field, where even the most routine procedures are approached with precision and care. One such procedure is the heel prick test, where blood is taken from an infant’s heel for various diagnostic purposes. To make this process smoother and more comfortable for the patient, infant heel warmers come into play. But how do we ensure they’re used correctly? Let’s dive in.
What Are Infant Heel Warmers?
Before covering the correct usage, it’s essential to understand the role of infant heel warmers. These specially designed products gently warm a baby’s heel to facilitate blood flow. Warming the heel ensures that the blood drawing procedure is quicker and causes minimal discomfort. Learn more about the role of infant heel warmers in our blog.
Step-by-Step Guide to Using Infant Heel Warmers
Check the Expiration Date
Before using any heel warmer, always ensure it is within its expiry date. If the expiration period has lapsed, we recommend the heel warmer be discarded.
Activate the Heel Warmer
To activate the warmer, follow the included instructions. Typically, this involves bending or flexing the disk until you start to see or feel the chemical reaction. Once the chemical reaction has initiated, heat will be produced. Knead the solution in the bag to soften and activate throughout.
Test the Temperature
Before placing the warmer on the infant’s heel, test its temperature on your wrist to ensure it’s not too hot. The goal is gentle warmth, not uncomfortable heat.
Positioning the Infant
Lay the infant in a comfortable position. Make sure their feet are accessible and relaxed.
Apply the Heel Warmer
Place the activated heel warmer on the infant’s heel, ensuring it covers the intended puncture site. Secure it with the adhesive backing or gentle medical tape, if necessary.
Wait for the Recommended Time
Allow the heel warmer to sit for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer – typically only a couple of minutes. This ensures the heel is adequately warmed and blood flow is optimal.
If the heel stick procedure has not been started within 10 minutes of activation, the heel warmer should be discarded and area should be assessed. If area has cooled, rewarm with a new heel warmer.
Proceed with the Heel Prick
Once the heel is appropriately warmed, you can proceed with the heel prick test.
Dispose of the Heel Warmer Safely
After use, ensure that the heel warmer is disposed of as per the manufacturer’s instructions, typically in a biohazard or general waste bin.
Tips for Optimal Use
- Always ensure the infant is comfortable and, if possible, distracted during the warming and pricking process. Our Sweet-Ease Sucrose Solution can be used to minimize the discomfort felt by the infant.
- Monitor the infant’s skin for any signs of reactions. While rare, it’s essential to be vigilant.
- Use heel warmers only as directed. Avoid leaving them on longer than recommended, as prolonged exposure isn’t necessary and may cause discomfort.
Safe and Gentle Care with International Biomedical
At International Biomedical, our dedication to neonatal care means that every product, every procedure, and every step is underlined by a commitment to the infant’s safety and comfort. By understanding and following the proper usage of tools like infant heel warmers, healthcare professionals can ensure that even routine procedures are done with the gentle touch that neonatal care demands. International Biomedical is here to support you in every step of the neonatal care journey.