BRACEBRIDGE, ON –  New equipment at a Muskoka hospital will give newborn babies the best start to life possible when they require additional help or even resuscitation.

The South Muskoka Hospital Foundation announced via press release that it has purchased a new Panda infant warmer for the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge. The equipment was the main focus of this year’s $1.5 million capital equipment fundraising commitment.

Carol Anderson is the Chief Nursing Executive & Clinical Services with the hospital. She said while the best practice of initial newborn care is for the baby to remain skin-to-skin with its mother, sometimes it requires additional help and that’s where the baby warmer comes in.

“The Panda combines advanced technologies with innovative features to deliver state-of-the-art thermoregulation while promoting family-centred care,” Anderson said in the release. “With this new addition of equipment, both Muskoka Algonquin Health Care sites are equipped with infant warmer, ensuring a higher standard level of care for newborns.”

The equipment is portable with the ability to monitor a newborn’s temperature and oxygen saturation. It also has a built-in resuscitator and weight scale along with an x-ray table so the baby doesn’t have to leave the warmer.

Colin Miller, Executive Director of the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, said new equipment at the hospital wouldn’t be possible without donations.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have strong support, including a local 12-year-old named Cailan Punnewaert who spearheaded a ‘Kids Who Care’ charity car wash in September with all proceeds designated toward the warmer,” Miller said in the release. “It’s a great example of how community spirit and dedicated supporters can make a difference for an entire community.”

The release added the waiting area next to the labour ward has been newly furnished thanks to donations from a local business.

The warmer is valued at $45,000 and the foundation said anyone who wants to donate to the foundation can purchase more equipment can do so by visiting the organization’s website.