Some air ambulance companies are equipped to transfer premature babies, also called “neonates.”
In the U.S. an estimated 500,000 premature babies are born every year-or one in every eight babies. A neonate or “preemie” is a baby delivered before 37 weeks of pregnancy. A normal full term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Premature babies often are under weight and have under-developed organs. They need special care in neonatal intensive care units or NICUs.
Sometimes newborn premature babies need to be transported over long distances faster than it would take on the ground. That’s when it’s time to call an air ambulance company that specializes in neonatal air transfer. This delicate type of transport requires the proper licensing, baby incubators and a highly trained medical crew. These usually include skilled neonatal nurses and crew experienced in the physiology of how altitude affects premature babies.
If you or someone you know is faced with the need to transfer a premature baby by air, here are some things you need to look for in a medical flight company.
Is the company licensed?
It requires special licensing to fly neonates.
What kind of equipment does the air ambulance company provide for the flight?
Premature babies must be transported in incubators. There are several types of neonatal incubators; some are better than others for a particular infant’s situation. One of the most high quality infant transporters used on air ambulances is the Isolette® TI500. This German produced incubator has advanced features like a built-in ventilator and baby warmer. It can stabilize both the core and peripheral body temperature of the infant. It is transportable anywhere and can provide the warm, safe environment and quick access necessary for optimal neonate care.
What type of aircraft is the air medical transport company using to fly preemie babies?
Jets are always the best choice for a medical flight, particularly with neonatal babies. Business jets can climb up above any bumpy weather into calmer flying conditions. Jets are pressurized and fast and can fly at speeds of 500 mph, getting the babies to their destinations quicker than a piston-powered plane. Business jets such as the Learjet 60 used as air ambulances are best for medical flights. These jets have plenty of room for the comfort of family who may be traveling with the babies and can accommodate the size of the baby incubators.
Safety is key, especially for these tiny precious cargo. Don’t trust just any air ambulance company. Do your research on the safety and maintenance records of the companies. Air Ambulance Services that have the ARG/US safety ratings of Gold, Gold-Plus or Platinum are among the very best.
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