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Randomised controlled trial
Plastics bags reduce hypothermia in newly born infants in the developing world
  1. Colm P F O'Donnell
  1. Department of Neonatology, The National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Colm O'Donnell, The National Maternity Hospital, Department of Neonatology, Holles Street, Dublin 2, Ireland; codonnell{at}

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Hypothermia has long been recognised as a serious risk to newborns, particularly extremely premature and low birthweight infants, for whom hypothermia on admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is an independent risk factor for death in developed countries. Guidelines recommend for drying newborns, placing them under radiant heat and using hats to prevent hypothermia.1 Despite these measures, many very premature infants are hypothermic on NICU admission. Placing infants in clear plastic (food-grade polyethylene) bags before placing them under radiant reduces evaporative heat losses while still allowing radiant heat (infrared light) to pass through. Trials involving small numbers of very preterm infants in developed countries demonstrated that placing infants in polyethylene bags increased their mean temperature on admission …

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  • Competing interests None.