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Neonatal incubator, London, England, c. 1955

During the 1950s, specialised baby care units were established by paediatricians. They provided maximum support for premature or sick babies. This isolated them from infection and allowed specialised care. Incubators such as this provided a controlled environment into which a premature baby was placed to monitor its progress and increase its chance of survival. Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels could be measured and adjusted, food administered and the temperature controlled.

Object number:

1975-92

 

Glossary:

Glossary: premature birth

The birth of a baby before 37 weeks (259 days) of pregnancy.

Glossary: paediatrics

The branch of medicine dealing with the medical care of children, infants and adolescents. The patient age limit is usually 14-18, depending on the country. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a paediatrician.

Glossary: incubator

A container in which environmental conditions can be maintained. When babies are born prematurely, they are placed in an incubator to maintain the correct temperature and humidity.