How to evaluate a Kangaroo Care Device

Selecting a Kangaroo Care Device cannot be taken lightly.  The safety, life, and health of the baby and the mental health of the parent are at risk when the baby is moved out of the bed/incubator/bassinet without proper safety precautions.

Click here for a checklist

The Zaky ZAK is the award-winning and most sophisticated, effective, and safe device for kangaroo care and skin to skin contact for parents and for cuddler holding - in any unit in the hospital (from birth to 12 lbs).

It was designed by Yamile Jackson, a PhD in ergonomics and human factors engineering and a [kangaroo] mother of Zachary, her former 28 weeker. She also designed The Zaky HUG and is the CEO of Nurtured by Design. 

The Zaky is carefully evaluated, analyzed, and selected by each hospital globally that uses it  since 2010.

Below are some of the features of The Zaky ZAK that makes it the preferred device of hospital units that are committed to providing safety, comfort, evidence-based care, and the best possible neuroprotective care to the most vulnerable of patients. 

Here are some features that make The Zaky ZAK the leader in Kangaroo Care for hospitals:

  • The Zaky ZAK is an ergonomic safety device for holding the baby- Skin to Skin by parents; and clothed when used by cuddlers/volunteers or other family members not approved by parents to be in skin to skin.
  • It is designed to mitigate the risk of unplanned extubations and accidental drops during kangaroo care.
  • Washable/Reusable - it is tagless, made of cotton and zippers and follows the same laundry protocol as the cotton clothing of babies.  It includes a washing bag and can be washed 30-40 times. It is washed after 3-4 sessions and as needed.  Wash at up to 60 degrees.
  • Cost: Consider number of uses,  it is unisex, washable, evidence-based and 3 sizes that fit 9 sizes (3 per size).
  • Parents consider it a personal item and prefer keeping the one assigned.
  • It uses zippers for a number of reasons: it is easy to use, everyone knows how to open/close without assistance, is strong, reliable, quiet, and can be opened partially to facilitate breastfeeding or pumping, place on the side to avoid pressure points, place it in the front to have easy access to the baby for interventions during skin to skin contact.
  • Facilitates Kangaroo Care and all its healthcare benefits.
  • Improves satisfaction of the parents and the staff.
  • Improves Breastfeeding rates.
  • Holds consistently the weight and proper kangaroo position of the baby, regardless of the duration of the Kangaroo Care/Skin to Skin session.
  • When used in the proper size, it prevents baby from sliding under the wrap.  This is important to prevent suffocation or equipment dislodging if the parent is not paying attention or falls asleep. (Beware of wraps that use nylon or slippery fabric).
  • Provides containment and boundaries without restraining movement (stretchy fabric)
  • Supports baby in vertical position without pressure points.
  • Avoids “Stuffing” the baby down the device (The ZAK works around the baby as opposed to the baby around the device).
  • Stretchable, soft, strong, breathable, and that maximizes area of contact between adult and baby.
  • Long to protect from air-drafts if the parent moves.
  • Provides the same containment/experience session after session – consistent experience for parent and baby – can be adjusted as baby grows.
  • Quiet release of the baby (no loud Velcro).
  • Unisex, comfortable, antiallergenic, breathable.
  • Supports Privacy: Fabric is thick/no see-through (covers nipples), minimal time exposed while transferring or during interventions.
  • Parent can hold sitting up or reclined.
  • Allows for thermoregulation of the parent. Use alone when parent feels hot, and use a sweater, shawl, shirt that opens in the front if s/he feels cold.
  • Allows breastfeeding and pumping while in Kangaroo Care.
  • Safe, comfortable, discrete, soft, quiet operation.
  • Zippers facilitates Independence: Parents may put it on and remove without assistance to the size that is comfortable to him/her. One less thing for the nurse to do. 
  • The fabric will stretch to properly contain the baby.  For multiples, or as baby grows then choose a larger size.
  • The Zaky ZAK® opens completely, so parents may put it on/off while standing, laying down, or sitting without raising the arms. Can be used in delivery, OR, post-partum, NICU, PICU, etc.
  • Parents may transfer babies alone after proper training, or with help from staff if using critical equipment.
  • Can hold multiples (twins, triplets) simultaneously - The transfer needs to be done "one at a time, and taking your time."
  • Immediate and effective access from the top, the bottom, the side of the baby (for emergencies and interventions) with quiet and minimum disruption.
  • FABRIC:  breathable and cotton keeps the baby warm.
  • COLOR of fabric: light colors to be able to see the position and if the baby is bleeding, see any leakages etc. and color code the size. 
  • EMERGENCY: Quick, quiet, easy, immediate release from KC in case of emergency (don’t pull out the baby but uncover first. Quiet to not overstimulate an already stressed baby, etc.)
  • Publication of independent implementation using The Zaky ZAK.
  • Inventory/Storage/Training/Quality Control/Ordering:  3 sizes, one of each color (the staff knows the size by the color) and each adjusts to 3 different zipper/sizes that fits the mother's blouse (for dads add a size)
Size 0 adjusts to 3XS/2XS/XS
Size 1 adjusts to S/M/L
Size 2 adjusts to XL/2XL/3XL 
Size 3 adjusts to 4XL/5XL/6XL
  • Easy training/quality control for evidence-based and consistent care.
  • Versatile to use in any unit and at home (Opens flat for use in delivery room/c-section or if mom cannot sit up or stand up).
  • Transport: provides safety every time the mom moves with the baby in kangaroo care (after delivery, and to the room).
  • If appropriate, send it home after proper training to continue practice at home and reduce readmission.
  • Nurses/any adult may easily use it to KC babies if incubator/heater lose power.
  • Individualized, and constant level of care for every baby, regardless of size, age, medical condition, or developmental stage, including NAS and end-of-life/palliative care.
  • It is designed to be used with The Zaky HUG®: the parent scents and warms The Zaky HUG on the back of the neck, providing comfort and support to the head.



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