There is no debating the fact that Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU’s) across the country save lives. A 2015 article from Science Daily cited that “The neonatal mortality rate has fallen more than fourfold (from 18.73 per 1,000 live births to 4.04 per 1,000 live births in 2012) since the first NICU opened in the United States 55 years ago to provide highly specialized care to premature and sick infants.” September is NICU Awareness Month, and we will be celebrating all month long. We start our celebration with a general introduction to NICU Awareness Month and what you can do to celebrate it.
What is NICU Awareness Month?
As you may imagine, having a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or working there is exceptionally tough and can take a massive toll on your emotional well-being. NICU Awareness Month is a community initiative “designed to honor families experiencing a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and the health professionals who care for them.” The whole idea here is to provide hope to those who need it most when children are at their most vulnerable.
How Did it Get Started?
According to nicuawareness.org, “In 2014, founding organization Project Sweet Peas joined other professional and parent organizations to raise awareness to the challenges faced in the NICU.” Initially, NICU Awareness Month was centered around allowing families to share their stories of their family’s experiences in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Eventually, it grew into a movement dedicated to providing support to NICU’s across the country as well as the families and staff that spend time there.
What Can You Do?
You may be wondering how you can get involved with this incredible movement. There are many different opportunities to join the initiative in your community and make a difference for families and staff in the NICU. One way to get involved is to host an item drive for a local NICU. Additionally, you can contact nicuawareness.org about purchasing an official NICA month care package. Alternatively, you can make your own package and deliver it to the hospital on September 27th for Neonatal Giving Day. You can also participate in NICU Staff Recognition Day on September 28th by providing gifts to your local NICU staff members. Each of these is an excellent way to show your support and help to save lives.