A student has invented a towel which shows how to resuscitate a newborn baby if they stop breathing.
Product design engineering student Nina Birchard came up with the creation, titled the ‘Resusci Towel’, after working for a company which designs CPR devices.
The towel comes with instructions printed on it to walk healthcare workers through the process, and includes a hand pump which, when squeezed, inflates an adjustable neck support to raise the upper back of the baby in an attempt to help clear their airway.
Nina hopes her invention will have a ‘global impact’ on baby resuscitation, as well as helping solve issues regarding heat loss and the positioning of babies while they are being resuscitated.
Speaking about how the ingenious creation came to be, the 23-year-old said:
I came up with it after working for a company last summer who design CPR devices.
I kind of got the idea by getting interested in the products they designed and looking online at the challenges they face.
I came across a piece of research which was trying to solve the problem I’m tackling. It led me to want to explore the problem further surrounding the positions of babies and heat loss during resuscitation.
To help her perfect the towel, Nina researched equipment and methods which are already used in resuscitation, and took part in a resuscitation course to ensure she knew the necessary information surrounding the process.
The student explained around six per cent of babies worldwide every year need some form of resuscitation.
I looked at what midwives performing the procedure currently do if they’re in an emergency, to try and understand what the current situation is.
I took part in a training course where I could observe people and saw they’re using towels already and realised there’s an opportunity to use something that’s already in use.
Nina went on to explain it can be dangerous to use the adult technique for resuscitation on babies, and so her Resusci Towel ensures people know what to do when it’s a child in need of help.
Describing the Resusci Towel, Nina explained:
One of the great things is [the towel] has printed instructions on it so it gives people the basic steps to perform the procedure. There’s a collar support and when you squeeze the pump it fills with air and it elevates their upper back – opening their airways to try and ventilate them and get their first breath.
That level of support that’s needed can vary a lot depending on the size of the baby and I’ve designed it so it can be adjusted in a really quick way. It also reduces the chances of confusion and helps get the procedure right.
It’s pretty dangerous to use the adult technique on a baby.
The 23-year-old is hoping to see the towel adopted by doctors and nurses, and said she’s had feedback which suggests her creation gives health professionals who are less confident the ability to carry out the procedure quickly and efficiently.
I would like to see it implemented in Scotland at least and even one day make a global impact.
It’s certainly a brilliant invention!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.