Some of Long Island’s tiniest babies celebrated their first Halloween dressed up as witches, mermaids, candy corn, and Harry Potter characters at a celebration arranged by the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staff at NYU Winthrop Hospital.
The goal was to provide parents of the newborns, who can’t stroll among trick-or-treaters in their own neighborhoods, an opportunity to create a special Halloween memory while still in the Hospital. More than 20 babies, including some of the tiniest ones born prematurely, donned adorable costumes that were devotedly crafted. Both day and nighttime NICU staff voted for the cutest, funniest, and best overall, with the winning families receiving jam-packed baskets of baby goodies.
“These costumes capture the tiny personalities of our NICU babies, and the contest brings great joy to the parents, who get to experience the spirit of Halloween even while their child is in the hospital,” said Caterina Tiozzo, MD, PhD, Neonatologist at NYU Winthrop.
“The event is also providing parents an occasion to focus on costumes and fun rather than worries and fears, helping them to deal with the stress of having a baby in the NICU and allowing them to start building joyful memories with their babies.”
The NICU is a special nursery for babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or with other medical problems such as breathing disorders, feeding issues, heart problems, infections or conditions requiring surgery. Premature babies often have more than one problem because their systems are immature, and they need to grow before they can go home. NYU Winthrop’s NICU is ranked among the best in the world regarding its outcomes, both in terms of overall survival and survival without complications in extremely premature babies. This is when compared to more than 800 NICUs by the prestigious Vermont Oxford Registry Network, an authority on the measurement of care and outcomes for high-risk infants.
“Babies in the NICU may have been born too small, too soon, or with a medical condition that requires they be in the hospital for weeks or months, which can be very draining on the parents,” added LaShon Pitter, Nurse Manager of NYU Winthrop Hospital NICU. “We continually look for ways to support the families during these challenging times, and the joy and laughter that this Halloween contest brings is definitely a dose of the right medicine for parents.”
This is the second year this NYU Winthrop Halloween contest was held.