Incubators Affect Babies' Heart Rates

Armen Hareyan's picture

Incubators are negatively affecting young babies' heart rate, urging the importance of checking the safety of this life saving devices.

The study conducted by University of Siena researchers looked at 27 toddlers who actually did not need incubator stay. Babies were put into the devices for 3 session for 5 minutes. Once the incubator was turned on, on the next session it was turned off, and on the third session it was turned on again.


Researchers recorded significant decrease in heart rate variability. They excluded the probability of device's sound affecting the heart rate by playing the sound of turned on incubator with a tape. The sound did not anyhow affect heart rate of babies. This means that heart rate variability is affected by electromagnetic field of the incubator surrounding baby's body.

Incubators are generally used for weakened babies to keep the temperature of baby's body on a normal level. Most of babies need incubation period for a short time after birth. Some babies need it even for several months. Therefore, the devices are very important for keeping babies healthy, and the safety of these devices is extremely important.

Heart rate variability is the 'natural switching up and down of the heart rate by the body'. This parameter is being used to describe adult heart health. It has never been use for babies and it is yet unclear how the heart rate variability works for babies. It is known that variability decrease in adults leads to arrythmias and even stroke, but for babies it is not studied yet.

The study still lacks research about how heart rate variability change affects toddlers and if electromagnetic field by incubators is too strong for babies' health, but it urges the need for careful detailed research to make sure that the devices are safe for babies. There have never been reported any problems and safety warnings about incubators, but the devices still need to be checked and modified, if necessary.