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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 11:06 GMT
Hammocks 'help premature babies'
Baby in hammock
The technique has been used on dozens of babies so far

Doctors in Colombia are using hammocks to help care for premature babies.

The specially-designed hammocks measure just 50cms in length and are place in the incubator for the baby to lie on.

The team at the hospital in Cartagena, a port on the northern coast of the South American country, first started using the technique two years ago.

Paediatricians wanted to find a way of keeping the babies on their backs, which makes it easier for them to breathe.

Growing

Dr Freddy Rodriguez, one of the doctors behind the scheme, said it has been used on dozens of babies so far.

He added: "We make the babies sleep longer which helps their growing and development."

He also added that it was helping to reduce the risk of apnea, a common disease in premature babies which means they struggle to breathe properly.

The treatment has so far proved popular with parents.

New mother Yannis Morales: "I'm the mother of a baby that is here and I think the therapy is very good because the baby responds very well."

In the UK, babies tend to be rotated as their body struggles to support their weight.

They also have access to specialist ventilation equipment that helps them breathe in the early weeks.

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