(Pittsburgh, PA) — As part of a commitment to support the developmental needs of premature infants, Philips and the March of Dimes are working together to support families with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) through volunteer events in five cities across the country, including Monroeville, PA, Andover, MA, Atlanta, GA, Stamford, CT, and San Jose, CA. The events are part of a larger sponsorship by Philips Mother & Child Care and the Philips Cares employee volunteer organization to benefit the March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support program.
The first event, taking place in Monroeville, PA, will kick off at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 3 at the offices of Philips Mother & Child Care, which offers specialized infant care products and solutions for babies in the NICU, including developmentally supportive, infant-positioning products, respiratory care products, incubators, warmers, and educational programs for clinicians. They will be joined by the 2013 Pittsburgh Ambassador Family, Chris, Joanna, Taylor and Lexi Tekulve. Eleven-year-old Taylor was born premature at 23 weeks, weighing just 1 pound, 4 ounces. She had problems breathing, multiple infections and had two eye surgeries to save her vision. After 124 days in the NICU, Taylor was finally able to come home. Today, Taylor has no developmental delays and loves to play soccer, ski and swim.
Each year, nearly 500,000 babies are born premature. Born too small and too sick, they may face weeks or even months in the NICU. For parents, the unfamiliar world of the NICU can be overwhelming. To help ease their heartache and fear, the NICU Family Support® program offers educational information and comfort to families while their baby is in the hospital.
During the events, Philips employees and will assemble kits for NICU families, which contain useful items such as a Philips AVENT breast pump, Soothie Pacifiers, Swaddle Cloths, personal care items and information about Kangaroo Care from the March of Dimes. Kangaroo Care, which is fundamental to the NICU Family Support Program, is the practice of a parent holding a diapered baby on his or her bare chest. This skin-to-skin contact benefits both parents and baby and is one of many care practices known as Developmental Care, a clinical practice approach designed to provide a healing environment, manage a baby’s stress and pain, and involve the parents, particularly in the delicate practice of positioning and feeding of premature infants. Developmental Care is focused on minimizing the negative effects of the NICU experience and improving long-term outcomes.
“We are delighted to be joined by the Tekulve family today to celebrate our sponsorship with the March of Dimes and our mutual commitment to helping premature babies get a healthy start in life,” said David H. Gibel, Director of Product Management for Philips Mother & Child Care and a board member for March of Dimes West Penn. “We believe the NICU Family Support program of the March of Dimes is a vital resource for parents experiencing the NICU environment and need as much information and support as possible.”
2013 is a milestone year for the March of Dimes as it celebrates its 75th anniversary. The organization was founded in January 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A polio sufferer himself, FDR established the organization to “lead, direct and unify” the fight against polio. Today, about 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes helps each and every one of them through its history of research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs.
The Philips Mother & Child Care business is focused on delivering the best care possible – before, during, and after a newborn enters the world – with innovative, clinically proven solutions and the broadest range of support. For more information, visit www.philips.com/motherandchild.