Oxygen for Babies at Home

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Baby, Parenting

Oxygen for Babies at Home

Being born before their due date may cause some complications on your babies.


One of those complications is dealing with your babies’ ability to breathe in the open air. Because of your babies’ condition that is unable to maintain their needs of oxygen by themselves, they need supplemental oxygen to help them. After been took care in the hospital and getting better, it is time for your babies to go home with you. However, for some reason, your babies may have to go home still with supplemental oxygen. There are some causes of why it should be done.

Furthermore, there are some types of oxygen delivery systems that are usually used at home and your babies may use one of them. As parents, it is necessary for you to know the reason why your babies have to get the supplemental oxygen even when they are already allowed to stay at home. You also have to know the kind of the delivery system use by your babies and know how to operate that. Lastly, you have to know of what to do when your babies have supplemental oxygen to keep everything safe.

Why Having Supplemental Oxygen?

There is a possibility that your babies go home with supplemental oxygen because of some reasons. Among those many reasons, one of it can be because they have BPD (Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia). It is a condition where your babies’ lungs are having problems because they are wounded and damaged. This condition usually occurs in babies that are born before their mother pregnancy reaches 32 weeks or in smaller babies. This medical condition becomes the prior cause of the supplemental oxygen requirement. However, it is a good thing that as your baby grows the damage will be less than the number of the lung tissue. So, your babies will absolutely get a better time to time.

Besides BPD, there are still some other causes of why supplemental oxygen is needed. Babies will also get supplemental oxygen if they have oxygen desaturation when they breathe within the room without help when they are awake. This desaturation may also happen at a time they are at rest, do activities or when they eat. If your babies are smaller, having airway and catching breath problems, tracheostomy and ventilator use, they are likely to go home with supplemental oxygen too. The last reason or cause is if your babies have apnea or bradycardia that that can be treated through this. So, there are many causes of why your babies have to be accompanied by supplemental oxygen. It will be better for you to know the cause that belongs to your babies.

Types of Oxygen Delivery System

The common ways of oxygen delivery is through nasal cannula that is a small tube which is placed in babies’ nose and around their head. However, there are some other types that are usually use for oxygen delivery at home. The first of those systems is compressed gas; the second one is liquid oxygen, and the third is oxygen concentrator. Each of them is described below.

  • Compressed Oxygen

This type of oxygen delivery system employs the use of tanks or cylinders containing oxygen which is in the form of gaseous matter. The gaseous matter is compressed and put into the tanks and cylinders. If your babies have the supplemental oxygen through this, you need to know of the time when the tanks and the cylinders need to be refilled. The time will depend on your babies’ use of the oxygen and of course the size since the tanks and the cylinders come in some sizes. The tanks may in the smaller size, medium, or bigger. The smaller one can stand for 12 hours. Meanwhile, the medium can last for 20 hours and the bigger one for 175 hours. You may choose one that suits you better.

  • Liquid Oxygen

The second oxygen delivery system is liquid oxygen. The same with the first system, this system also employs the use of tanks with oxygen inside. However, the oxygen is already processed and become liquid oxygen. Therefore, the size of the tanks is smaller than the ones in the first system. This oxygen is also provided in some sizes. The smaller one can stand for 8 hours while, the bigger one can stand for 500 hours. This liquid oxygen is usually used as a backup. However, it has a drawback which is it will evaporate when you do not use it.

  • Oxygen Concentrator

Different from the previous systems in which the oxygen is provided in the tank, this system is using a tool to catch the oxygen in the air to be given to your babies. It requires electricity, so it requires you to have backup oxygen, the portable one.

What to Do?

You have known the reasons why your babies have supplemental oxygen with them, and the delivery system used by your babies. Now, you have to know of what you should do dealing with the condition in which your babies are home with supplemental oxygen. First, of course you have to know of how to operate the equipment. You may not look for the instructions by yourselves. There should be people who are responsible to teach you and give you the guidance. Second, no matter which system is used, you must obey the precautions. Since oxygen is easy to blow, you have to be extra careful. You have to keep your babies and the oxygen tanks from open flame, radiator and hitter at least as far as 6 feet. You must also not smoking around your babies. Using rubbing alcohol within your babies and the oxygen environment is also banned. The other things that have to be kept away from your babies are petroleum jelly and also spray cans.

If your babies are home with supplemental oxygen, it will be better for you to have the same room with them. It will give you many advantages. You can learn many aspects from the baby’s care since you can see it. It is needed because there are many things that you have to know. For example, babies who need supplemental oxygen usually are accompanied by apnea and rarely pulse oximeters too when you bring them home. The apnea monitor is used to identify occurring that may sign respiratory distress or arrest. The second monitor is used to identify false alarms. You have to be able to operate them.

Although your babies are already home, some health practitioners may come to your house. They may check your babies’ oxygenation or regular home nursing. It will depend on your babies’ condition. Although they may come, you have to make sure that you have and save certain numbers to contact when problems occur given to you. Problems may occur in babies who are oxygen dependent, and they can be fatal meanwhile there is no one at that time. So, you have to be ready for any dangerous moment that may occur. You have to inform those who are responsible as soon as possible after you identify the problems.

By the time goes by, when the cause of the need of supplemental is decrease such your babies’ respiratory effort decrease and oxygen saturation stabilize, then your babies may begin to wean from the oxygen help. However, it is done gradually accompanied with some examinations such as physical examinations, x-ray, etc. so, you have to patient. If your babies are not getting better, thorough examination will be done to find the causes and to give a better treatment until your baby able to breathe freely without the oxygen help.

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

By Editorial Team

NetParents is the go-to resource for all parenting issues. We are an independent body that seeks to offer general information on various parenting topics and unbiased reviews on baby products.