It’s the 5th International Kangaroo Care Day!

We took the challenge this year again and I am happy to announce achieved even greater success than last time around!  Since the last time we have purchased special clothing to facilitate the practice and with this new initiative perhaps it helped us reach new highs!  Here are the results paraphrased from one of our very own!

At St. Boniface Hospital

“663 hours and 29 minutes.  This means 2 hours and 4 minutes per patient per day.

The really great part of this is the involvement we had from L&D and LDRP.  Both units kept log sheets and informed patients and visitors about the importance of Skin to Skin.

L&D logged 65 hours and 27 minutes for 58 patients which equals more than an hour per patient, their patients don’t stay as long.

LDRP logged a total of  268 hours and 47 minutes for 34 patients which is more than 8 hours of skin to skin per patient and baby. LDRP had some parents who did more than 15 hours during their hospital stay, one family logged 34 hours!


321 hours of KC  in the 3 Neonatal Areas combined!

 .5 hours per patient per day eligible for KC!    (excludes those too sick)

How Does This Compare to Last Year (For St.B)?

Sunnybrook NICU in Toronto put out a challenge to promote Kangaroo Care for a two-week period to  in the NICU.  We took the challenge at St. Boniface Hospital and here are the results…IMG_0160

Our dates were from April 13-27.

We totaled 647 hours and 10 minutes, equals 27 days worth of skin to skin.

Total of 36 babies in the unit, another 14 infants that were held KC while in a C-section or being monitored by our Observation staff (these babies had TTN and were being transitioned KC in L&D and LDRP.

We had 9 long term micro premies that were in the unit at the time of the challenge, they averaged 33-69 hours during the two week period.

Not bad at all I say based on the number of babies we had!  This represents an average of 18 hours of KC per baby over that time!

You have likely heard of Kangaroo Care and you may have even seen some children receiving it in your hospital.  Why is this so important?

Kangaroo Care (KC) or Skin to Skin Care (STS) is an ideal method of involving parents in the care of their premature infant.  It fosters bonding between parents and their hospitalized infant, encourages the family to be with their child and thereby exposes them to other elements of neonatal care that they can take part in.  While we know that many units are practising Kangaroo Care there is a big difference between having KC in your unit and doing everything you can to maximize the opportunity that your families have to participate.

There is much more to KC than simply holding a baby against your chest.  For a demonstration of KC please watch the accompanying video and show it to any one in your units that may need a visual demonstration.  This excellent video is from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and walks you through all of the important steps to get it right and maximize benefit.

Before you reach the conclusion that KC only serves to enhance the parental experience it does so much more than that.  The practice began in Bogota Columbia in 1979 in order to deal with a shortage of incubators and associated rampant hospital infections.  The results of their intervention were dramatic and lead to the spread of this strategy worldwide.  The person credited with helping to spread the word and establish KC as a standard of care in many NICUs is Nils Bergman and his story and commentary can be found here

The effects of KC are dramatic and effective to reduce many important morbidities and conclusively has led to a reduction in death arguably the most important outcome.  An analysis of effect has been the subject of several Cochrane Collaboration reviews with the most recent one being found here.

To summarize though, the use of KC or STS care has resulted in the following overall benefits to premature infants at discharge or 40 – 41 weeks’ postmenstrual age:

Reduction in

mortality  (typical RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.96)

nosocomial infection/sepsis  (typical RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.80)

hypothermia (typical RR 0.23, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.55)

Increase in

KMC was found to increase some measures of infant growth, breastfeeding, and mother-infant attachment

To put this in perspective, medicine is littered with great medications that never achieved such impact as simply putting your child against your chest.  This is another shining example of doing more with less.  This is not to say that modern medicine and technology does not have its place in the NICU but KC is simply too powerful a strategy not to use and promote routinely in the NICU.

Please join me in championing this wonderful technique and make a difference to all of our babies!

A sample of our parent letter to promote KC is found in the link below.

Parent letter II