The sub-Saharan African region has some of the world’s highest rates of neonatal mortality, with neonatal hypothermia being one of the leading causes of death in preterm infants.
The aim of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to assess the effectiveness of using woolen caps and booties together with the kangaroo mother care (KMC) method in order to keep the body temperature of premature newborns in the standard range.
Three hundred low-birth-weight infants about one week of age were randomly assigned to two groups, those with a woolen cap (CAP ) and those without (NOCAP ) in the hospitals of Wolisso (Ethiopia), Aber (Uganda) and Beira (Mozambique) from December 2015 to September 2016.
5,064 measurements were recorded during the study, and showed that the mean time spent in the normal thermal range was 55% for the CAP group and 56% for the NOCAP group.
The use of woolen caps does not seem, therefore, to have brought any significant advantages in terms of maintaining safe body temperatures in infants treated with the KMC method.