Date issued: October 2020
For review: October 2022
Ref: B-469/SS//Neonatal/The Thermal Care Bundle for your baby
Your baby is born wet and into an environment that is often cooler than body temperature.
The temperature of the environment during delivery of your baby and afterwards has a significant effect on the risk of your baby developing hypothermia (a low body temperature). However, there are steps that we can take to reduce the chance of this happening.
What is the Thermal Care Bundle?
The Thermal Care bundle involves evaluating your baby’s needs once born to assess the level of care needed in order to maintain a normal body temperature (>36.5°C but <37.5°C).
We use a ‘traffic light’ system using coloured hats of red, yellow and green, one of which we will place on your baby depending on your baby’s needs.
Is there anything I can do for my baby?
One of the best ways to keep your baby warm is by direct skin-to-skin contact from birth. By drying your baby, applying a hat and warm towels whilst skin-to-skin will help keep your baby at the correct temperature.
When your baby is no longer skin-to-skin, maintaining a hat, vest, sleepsuit and blanket at least for the first 6 hours will help prevent your baby from becoming cold.
If you are concerned at any point that your baby may be too hot or too cold, please alert a member of staff.
Should I be concerned if my baby’s hat is red?
A red hat indicates to the health care professional as well as yourselves, that your baby may be at increased risk of hypothermia and therefore extra care or observations may need to be taken to make sure your baby is able to keep itself warm. If all remains well following the appropriate observation period for your baby (which a health care professional will discuss with you), then normal care will be resumed.
What happens if my baby is cold?
There are steps we can take to warm your baby up if your baby is found to be cold or if you are concerned that your baby is cold. Putting your baby back skin-to-skin and ensuring a hat is on is often all that is needed. It maybe that a special heated cot is needed if skin-to-skin is not effective to bring your baby’s temperature up to normal and more frequent temperature monitoring will be needed. We may need to change the colour of your baby’s hat if it is green to yellow or yellow to red to alert staff to the increase in need for your baby.
How long will my baby be monitored for?
A minimum of 6 hours is recommended. A temperature check at birth, prior to discharge to the ward, on arrival to the ward and at 6 hours of age may be all that is needed. If you have had your baby at home, a temperature check at birth and prior to the midwife leaving will be sufficient, providing it is normal.
If you are going home from hospital before your baby is 6 hours old then your baby will have a temperature check before you leave.
You can remove the coloured hat once the observation period is complete and use your own.
You may choose, however, to use your own hat from the start which is entirely your choice.
What happens when I go home with my baby?
We recommend babies wear a hat on the journey home and will often need one extra layer than you (e.g. a blanket in addition to clothes). The more layers you need, the more your baby will need with one extra.
A room temperature between 18°C and 21°C is optimum.
Remember, if you have any concerns about your baby’s temperature or any other concerns, please seek advice from either Maternity Triage, 111 or 999 if you have significant concerns with your baby.
Thank you for reading this information leaflet, as a department we welcome any feedback or suggestions that could help improve our service.