Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide. [source]
World Prematurity Day aims to raise awareness of the challenges and burdens of preterm birth globally and improve the situation of preterm babies and their families.
History of World Prematurity Day
World Prematurity Day always falls on November 17 each year and has been celebrated as such since 2011. The day was initiated in 2008 by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI).
On this day in 2008, one of the founding members of EFCNI became the proud father of a daughter after having lost his triplets due to preterm birth. After that, a new awareness day was born.
Socks for Life Campaign
EFCNI and other partnering parent organizations initiated the Socks for Life campaign in 2013 as a means of keeping the momentum going for awareness of premature birth throughout the year. It is a joint effort between the families of premature babies and the care teams involved.
For the first World Prematurity Day, the EFCNI wanted to raise awareness, so they used a sock line to do so. One out of ten pairs of socks were “preemie” socks. EFCNI encouraged people to hang the sock line randomly about – in hospitals, across village streets, on trees – all random occurrences, just like premature births.
Since then, EFCNI has carried the image, “Socks for Life,” and has even had famous artists use this theme to commemorate World Prematurity Day. It has, in essence, become a symbol for World Prematurity Day as well as for the EFCNI’s work.
Everyone is invited to join in the campaign. Learn more about Socks for Life here.
How WakeMed is Celebrating World Prematurity Day
WakeMed will be participating in the Socks for Life campaign by having NICU parents create a sock line. Each parent will put their baby’s name on a sock and hang it on a clothing line inside of the family room. Our NICU family room will also be transformed into purple to highlight the importance of World Prematurity Day.
WakeMed is a NIDCAP Certified Nursery – Why It Matters
Prematurity isn’t just a birth-related risk. In fact, it may have lifelong consequences that affect not just the baby but their families, their schools, and our communities. Director of the Carolina NIDCAP Training Center at WakeMed and Vice President of the NFI Board of Directors, Jim Helm, elaborates:
The NFI – NIDCAP Federation International – supports training that helps nurseries be more developmentally supportive, neuro-protective and family-centered in their care. We are helping communities be aware and attentive to this community health issue by helping to spot light World Prematurity Day.
WakeMed has a training center for this approach, which is recognized world-wide as a leader in supporting infant development, and WakeMed has been designated as one of only a few hospitals with a NIDCAP Certified Nursery indicating a high level of developmentally supportive care integrated throughout the NICU.
You Can Help Premature Babies. Here’s How.
If you are concerned about the issue of premature birth and want to make a difference, consider making a donation to the WakeMed NICU via the WakeMed Foundation. Under the drop-down list for “Designation,” select Neonatal/Intensive Care Nursery.
We encourage you to join in the worldwide celebration and honoring of these babies and their families. Consider donating through the March of Dimes or the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI). Finally, take a moment to help spread the word about prematurity by talking with your family and friends.