Incubators ensure infants receive the critical care they need in the air
Wales Air Ambulance has installed Ferno’s Babypod portable incubators in its three aircraft, helping seriously-ill infants receive the critical care they need inflight.
The Babypod can be installed on each helicopter within minutes, saving time in a paediatric emergency.
Wales Air Ambulance airlifts around 400 children every year from its bases in Swansea, Caernarfon and Welshpool. The incubators will make a vital difference in treating and flying infants up to nine months old, which accounts for, on average, three missions each month.
Clinical and operations manager at the charity, Jason Williams, said: “These ‘flying incubators’ will completely change the way babies receive urgent medical care. Previously, infants would be carried in the arms of a parent or paramedic, but the Babypods provide a safer, warmer and calmer environment for the patient. Our highly-skilled crews can also provide more advanced treatment in-flight, such as managing a difficult airway.”
The Ferno Babypod is made of lightweight, non-metallic materials, allowing it to be used in X-ray and MRI machines when babies reach hospital. The Babypods are lined with shock-absorbing foam, ensuring minimal vibrations during flight, and have a transparent lid, allowing parents and paramedics to constantly monitor infants.
Convulsions are the most-common condition in infants that the 150mph helicopters respond to, but the crews attend a wide range of paediatric emergencies and can fly children to specialist centres throughout Wales and beyond.
Williams said: “Children often need very specialist care and we can get them to the treatment they need, whether it’s Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff or Great Ormond Street in London.”
Wales Air Ambulance chief executive, Angela Hughes, added: “The Babypods will undoubtedly support families up and down the country and this is thanks to the generosity of the people of Wales. Even the smallest of donations has helped towards getting this valuable piece of equipment for babies here in Wales, and we will be on standby should any family need us, 365 days a year.”
Ferno managing director, Jon Ellis, said: “Our Babypod, together with its CosyTherm system, which maintains babies’ critical core temperatures, have won endorsements from the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust and have proved to be life savers with a number of emergency services.
“The Babypod is fitted onto the aircraft stretcher using a custom-built mounting system, enabling the incubator to be secured or removed within minutes. The baby is kept warm and comfortable with minimal vibration from aircraft engines and the pod also has a specially-designed mattress that aids the transportation of babies that need to be immobilised for the journey.”