What do we have to do?

If a little baby is poorly either from birth or shortly after birth, they may need intensive care just as adults do. They sometimes need help with breathing, or they may need to be investigated for underlying health conditions. Sometimes they just need a little help if they have been born too early. They are placed in an incubator which is a safe, clean warm environment for them to rest and be treated by the doctors and nurses.

Part of the treatment for these little babies may involve them having a chest x-ray to see if their lungs are developing properly and if there is a heart condition or if an existing condition is improving. They many also need an x-ray to look at the various lines and tubes that are used to give medicines which will help in the baby’s recovery.

It is not possible to bring the babies to the X-Ray department for their Chest X-Ray for several reasons:-

  • They may be very poorly and moving them may be dangerous.
  • We don’t want to move them to avoid getting any infections or germs on the way to the department
  • We need to keep them in the warm constant temperature of the incubator all the time to help them get better.

So when a baby needs a chest x-ray, the doctors ask us to take our machine up to the NICU unit to give the babies their x-rays there.

What is the problem?

  • Our current X-ray machines are used all over the hospital on various wards to x-ray anyone who needs a chest x-ray but is too sick to travel to the department. This means we need to clean it thoroughly before and after we visit the NICU to make sure we don’t spread germs to the little babies.

The Nano Unit will stay permanently on the NICU unit and not be used anywhere else so we can be confident that it will stay nice and clean and therefore not risk passing germs on to the babies.

  • Our machines are also very big and quite bulky and we struggle sometimes to get close enough to the incubators in order to take the x-ray.
  • They are also fairly noisy as they are motorised. Noise is not pleasant for the very tiny ears of the babies and we don’t want to startle them or distress them with unfamiliar noises.

The NANO X-ray machine is a lot smaller than most of the x-ray machines on the market at the moment. It is not motorised and so is very quiet when we move it around.

  • The NICU unit is not very big and there are lots of incubators with not so much space between them. This can cause us difficulties when we try to manoeuvre our x-ray machines around the unit.

The NANO unit is small and quite light and so easy for the radiographer to move around near the incubator and because it’s smaller we can get closer to the incubator.

  • The doctors need to see the X-Ray image very quickly after we have taken it so that they can start to help the babies and make them better. Older type X-Ray machines need the X-Rays to be ‘developed’ like photographs which can take several minutes.

The NANO x-ray machine is a state of the art digital x-ray machine which means that when we take the x-rays the image of the baby is produced within seconds on a little screen on the machine. This means the doctor can have a look at the X-Ray straight away before we then send it to the normal storage system on the hospital’s computer.

  • Every time we take an x-ray for anybody, we have to try and use the smallest amount of x-rays possible to produce the best possible image.

The images that the NANO unit produces are very good and very detailed but only use small amounts of x-rays. This makes it easier for the doctors and nurses to read the X-Ray and see if anything is wrong with the baby’s lungs.

  • X-rays are also used to review if the small lines that are inserted in babies veins are in a correct position and not entering the heart which can be sometimes fatal or lead to complications.


The NANO unit is ‘the perfect fit’ for the radiographers to use to take x-rays of the babies on NICU.

We are so grateful to REDSKY charity for buying this for us and enabling us to produce high quality x-rays quickly and efficiently for the doctors and nurses.