Synchronise clocks to find the real millennium baby!

July 23, 1999

Clocks in delivery wards may not be sufficiently accurate to validate birth of "Millennium babies"

In a tongue-in-cheek letter in this week's BMJ two paediatricians from London warn that in order to validate the birth of the so-called "first millennium baby", labour wards should ensure that all their clocks are set accurately!

Dr Jonathan Round and Dr Nigel Kennea report that in a study of their labour ward, where 2,600 babies are delivered each year, all six clocks in the delivery rooms were slow by a median of 93.6 seconds. The authors also surveyed the clocks in the labour ward of a large teaching hospital and found that the median of eleven clocks was 15 seconds slow, but they ranged from four minutes 12 seconds slow to two minutes 25 seconds fast!

They conclude that most parents expect the clocks to be accurate and might be surprised if their baby became five minutes older during transfer to a different room!

Dr Jonathan Round, Specialist Registrar in Paediatrics, Gravesend Hospital, Kent Email:


Dr Nigel Kennea, Specialist Registrar in Paediatrics (neonatology), Department of Child Health, St George's Hospital Medical School, London Email:


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