Preemie Matters – March 2013

In this issue of Preemie Matters: NICU Resource Library • Parents of Preemies Day 2013 • Strong Start for Mothers & Newborns • Skyler's Gift Foundation • Integrating "Back to Sleep" Recommendations Into NICU Practice 

NICU Resource Library

Nonprofit preemie parent support organization Hand to Hold has launched an online NICU Resource Library for hospitals, offering educational info and support to families who have a baby in the neonatal ICU. The library- which includes resources in both English and Spanish for co-branding by hospitals and print-on-demand- is available to NICUs for an annual membership fee. This resource to support family-centered care may also be gifted by individuals or corporations through Hand to Hold's "For the Love of Babies" campaign.

Parents of Preemies Day 2013

March 10th marked the second annual Parents of Preemies Day, and event coordinators report a strong turnout and exciting growth across the U.S. as well as internationally. This year, more than 400 adults and 300 children attended events in six cities, and many more parents and supporters were present at 10 NICU-only events - including the first ever Parents of Preemies Day event in Indonesia. Online, thousands of preemie parents shared their stories and photos on the Parents of Preemies Day Facebook page, and #ParentsofPreemiesDay was a trending topic during an official Twitter chat. The National Premature Infant Health Coalition supported Parents of Preemies Day through social media and with a blog post in collaboration with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB). Planning for 2014 is already underway at Graham's Foundation, which produces this annual observance.

Strong Start for Mothers & Newborns

In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled a new initiative, Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns, aimed at lowering prematurity rates under Medicaid and CHIP. Through grant funding, communities with high rates of preterm births will receive support for improving prenatal care. Awards are expected to serve 80,000 women in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Skyler's Gift Foundation

Following the birth of their twin sons Stephen and Skyler at 24 weeks, and the subsequent loss of Skyler in the neonatal ICU, preemie parents Tiffany and Stephen Bowen started Skyler's Gift Foundation in 2012 with the belief that no one should have to face this kind of loss alone, without needed resources. Along with funding prevention research and education, Skyler's Gift Foundation supports families in need of financial assistance for mortuary and burial costs, as well as grief counseling and support groups for moms, dads, and siblings. On the evening of May 4th in Washington, DC, the Foundation will host its first major fundraiser, a Bowl-a-Thon at Lucky Strike featuring Stephen Bowen and other NFL players, including several of Stephen's teammates from the Washington Redskins. Get complete details and buy tickets on the Skyler's Gift website.

Integrating "Back to Sleep" Recommendations Into NICU Practice

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that NICUs endorse and model safe sleep, SIDS risk-reduction practices with parents before a baby's discharge. New research published in the journal Pediatrics finds that a program which includes detailing when to start safe start sleep practices, a "Back to Sleep" crib card, educational programs for nurses and parents, a crib audit tool, and post-discharge telephone reminders may lead to significantly improved outcomes. After implementation of the study's program, NICU "back to sleep" compliance increased from 39% to 83%, and parental compliance with safe sleep practices at home increased from 23% to 82%.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB’s disclaimer is available on our website.