Hospital webcams let parents monitor premature babies from home


Almost 30 secure cameras have been installed at the neonatal unit of UZ Brussel, allowing anxious parents to see their newborn child outside limited visiting hours

Peace of mind

Parents whose babies are born prematurely can keep a constant eye on them via new webcams in the neonatal unit at UZ Brussel. It’s the first hospital in the country to offer the service, allowing parents to see their newborn child outside visiting hours, which are limited to ensure rest for the babies in the unit and reduce the risk of infection.

“When parents go home, they worry about their child. Via the webcam, they can log in to a secure website on their computer, tablet or smartphone and see them in their incubator,” said Filip Cools, head of the hospital’s neonatal department.

“For mums and dads of children in our unit, it’s not always simple to create a bond with them,” he told Radio 1. “It’s always difficult for the parents to have to go home while the child has to stay. The cameras give them the feeling that their baby is closer to home.”

All 28 beds in the department have been fitted with a webcam, including the neonatal intensive care unit and the N* ward, where premature babies stay once intensive care is no longer necessary. 

When the baby is removed from the incubator for treatment, parents see a message on the screen to inform them. They are unable to see the baby’s monitor or hear alarms, to avoid causing them worry. Parents can share the access code with grandparents and other family members, so they can also see the progress of their new relative from a distance.

Photo courtesy UZ Brussel