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High-Tech Blanket Has Saved Thousands of Babies

The Embrace Warmer/Embrace Innovations

Little Lotus sleep bag/Little Lotus

The Short of It

Jane Chen has helped reduce infant mortality in the developing world with the Embrace Warmer, an inexpensive portable warming blanket, and is now helping parents in the United States ensure their babies are sleeping safely and soundly at home with the Little Lotus line of swaddles, sleep sacks and blankets.

The Lowdown

Pre-term infants struggle to stay warm, but mothers in developing countries don't usually have access to expensive hospital incubators that could help their babies survive. Chen and her classmates in Stanford University's MBA program worked to solve this problem and created the portable blanket-style Embrace Warmer, which costs 1 percent of an incubator's U.S. price tag and keeps infants warm without electricity.

After graduation, Chen, founder of Embrace Innovations, moved to India, which has 40 percent of the world's premature babies, and worked there for four years to further develop and distribute Embrace Warmers. Since it was introduced in 2008, she estimates the invention has saved 150,000 babies worldwide.

Last year, Chen brought the benefits of the Embrace to U.S. parents with Little Lotus, a collection of swaddles, sleep sacks and blankets engineered to keep kids' skin at an ideal temperature—between 89 and 95 degrees—using material embedded with the same technology in NASA spacesuits. Besides helping babies sleep better and longer because they're at a comfortable temperature, Chen says the tech can fight against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome because SIDS has been linked to babies being too hot or too cold.

The Upshot

Chen's goal is to get an Embrace Warmer to every infant who needs one, so for every Little Lotus products purchase over $100, $25 will go toward distributing Embrace Warmers to babies in need. Her team recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to get funding for Little Lotus production and distribution costs, and it has currently raised $102,294 of its $98,000 goal. Pledgers can continue to pre-order Little Lotus products through the campaign until May 29.

Chen told Yahoo Parenting that she hopes to help U.S. moms and dads with their little ones and "to make parents think about helping babies around the world as well."

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