The innovative technology of the DREAM Infant Warmer was developed by engineers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with subject matter experts at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), field-based input from clinical partners at Partners In Health (PIH)-Inshuti Mu Buzima (IMB) in Rwanda, and the Rwanda Ministry of Health (MOH).

The Device

The DREAM Infant Warmer is an easy-to-use, inexpensive, reusable, easily washable, non-electric infant warmer that supports Skin to Skin (Kangaroo Mother Care). The warmer is modeled on a heating pad and uses phase change material to maintain skin temperature (37°C) for approximately 6-8 hours. It is constructed of sturdy material with no attached fabric, so that it can be easily cleaned and reused. The warming pad itself is composed of multiple “candles” of phase change material designed to become liquid at skin temperature. The pad is heated by submerging it in boiling water in a portable thermos, making it easy to prepare even in remote settings. Once heated, the pad is slid into a padded neoprene sleeve, which provides comfort and insulation to maximize warming timespan.

The DREAM Infant Warmer is designed to be used with minimal training. Simple, clear pictographs printed on the sleeve and thermos provide easy to understand directions even in low-literacy contexts. A temperature indicator signals when the warmer is cool enough to safely begin use. The infant can either be placed on the warmer as it lies flat, or the warmer can be positioned over the infant’s back while the mother provides STS. These two uses allow the degree of heat provided to be modified based on the infant’s need, thereby enabling the warmer to compliment rather than compete with STS.

Phase Change Material

The phase change material used in this product, PureTemp37, comprises the DREAM Infant Warmer’s core innovation. It is a precise mixture of vegetable oils, developed to maintain a temperature of exactly 37°C for several hours. The candles are connected by a co-extruded polymer plastic film, and become liquid at 37°C, solidifying when the temperature decreases.

Cost and Manufacturing

The cost of production of all components of the DREAM Infant Warmer is anticipated to be approximately $20 USD. Our goal is to make the entire Infant Warmer Kit (warming pad, neoprene mat, thermos, and backpack) available for between $30 – $50 USD, making it significantly less expensive than other options currently available on the market. The greater the scale, the lower the price. We expect to manufacture and distribute the warmer globally through a global manufacturer committed to produce the DREAM Infant Warmer at cost.