In hospitals across the country, from Delaware to California, March of Dimes NICU Family Support® is helping parents celebrate their baby’s first Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) families will make holiday memories at several hospitals including Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Capital Health Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and CHOC Children’s Hospital Orange County.
Some of the planned activities include:
- Tiny Trees Event
At Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, NICU graduate parents and other volunteers decorate tiny trees for the parents of current NICU patients to display in their baby’s hospital room. The trees bring a little celebratory encouragement to the families hospitalized during the holidays and they are able to bring home their trees after the holidays as a keepsake.
- Ugly Sweater Onesie Contest & Noon Year’s Eve
The Capital Health Medical Center NICU in Hopewell, NJ, is holding an “Ugly Sweater” onesie decorating contest for both parents of NICU patients and their staff. Additionally, they will be throwing a “Noon Year’s Eve” party for patient’s families serving snacks and sparkling cider to ring in the new year.
- Ornament Designing
Families at CHOC Children’s Hospital Orange County are participating in decorating a special ornament, where the length of ribbon corresponds to the baby’s length. Families will also have the option to participate in a Santa themed photo shoot and a choose-your-own holiday/winter themed onesie and bib making activity later in the month.
- Winter Carnival & More
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin hosts a month-long series of events around the holidays. These include their hospital-wide winter carnival, in which therapy dogs dress like reindeer, Dairy Queen donates blizzards and the local hockey team visits with families. Hanukkah and advent candle lightings kick-off the month and ornament crafting, Santa visits and a New Year’s Eve celebration round out the December festivities. A Winter Wonderland window decorating contest in the NICU takes place in early January.
Each year in the United States, more than 380,000 babies are born preterm — that’s 1 in 10 babies. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributor to death in the first year of life in the United States, and the leading cause of death of children under age 5 worldwide. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities.
In partnership with over 60 hospitals across the country, March of Dimes offers NICU Family Support®. This program educates families, educates healthcare staff and improves the NICU experience, reaching more than 50,000 families each year.