Tiny babies celebrated their first Halloween dressed up as butterflies, superheroes or pumpkins, thanks to the March of Dimes and Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.
March of Dimes volunteers prepared costumes for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Professional photographers volunteered their services to capture images of the tiny trick or treaters. The photos are provided to Saint Luke’s NICU parents as a keepsake, thanks to the March of Dimes.
“Every day a child is in the NICU can be frightening and uncertain, but holidays are especially tough, as families miss the normal joys of celebrations at home.” says Rebecca Keunen, March of Dimes/ NICU Family Support Coordinator. “Baby’s first Halloween is a day they’ll want to remember and celebrate and March of Dimes is here with them at Saint Luke’s to help.”
Babies in the NICU may have been born too small, too soon, or with a medical condition that requires intensive care. The March of Dimes developed the NICU Family Support program to help support families during their baby’s time in the NICU. The program also educates NICU staff about the best ways to support babies, families, and each other.
Babies born premature (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), even born just a few weeks too soon, can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy, and intellectual delays. In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born too soon each year – that’s 1 in 10. The premature birth rate in our country is higher than that in most other high-resource nations.