Small Baby Program :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Small Baby Program

Our Small Baby Program lets premature babies thrive.

Extreme prematurity is one of the leading causes of infant mortality. But the Small Baby Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is changing that. Just a few years ago, the survival rate for babies born at 23 weeks was 10 percent. Today, the survival rate at Nationwide Children’s is 78 percent, due to the standardized care that our guidelines provide.

At the heart of the Small Baby Program is a standardized protocol for care, developed by the neonatology team at Nationwide Children’s and tested at the bedside, providing a uniform, interdisciplinary approach to the family-centered care of extremely premature babies. The guidelines outline care regarding development, nutrition, cardiovascular functioning, infection and other potential health concerns throughout these infants’ hospitalization. As a result, premature babies at Nationwide Children’s are doing more than surviving. They’re catching up to their peers and thriving with outstanding developmental outcomes.

We’re dedicated to delivering family-centered care.

Every aspect of the Small Baby Program at Nationwide Children’s is dedicated to the care of babies born at less than 27 weeks with:
  • Dedicated, multidisciplinary care from pediatric experts who specialize in the care of our smallest, most fragile patients
  • Dedicated, evidenced-based protocols that give babies the chance to outgrow their illnesses
  • A dedicated Small Baby Pod in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staffed by nurses devoted to the care of premature babies

Our lifesaving research tests the guidelines’ effectiveness.

Our NICU began developing the Small Baby Guidelines (SBG) to create consensus, so that all babies would receive equal care and optimal outcomes.

After seven months of development, the Small Baby Program committee implemented the first set of SBGs. The guidelines were used in the care of all infants born at less than 27 weeks gestation and who were less than 7 days old. To determine the effectiveness of the guidelines, our neonatology team gathered data on all 41 infants cared for during the guidelines’ first year and compared these to data on 40 same-age infants who were admitted during the year leading up to the SBG implementation.

Results showed that babies treated according to the SBGs had a substantially shorter hospital stay than those cared for the year prior to the implementation, and fewer SBG babies experienced intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

We treat the whole family. At the hospital and at home.

Our Small Baby Program and its neonatology experts have attracted interest from neonatal centers from across the country. Patients receive specialized treatment and families return home with specific treatment plans for their babies. Additionally, there is a commitment to ongoing consultation between Nationwide Children’s and the patient’s primary care physician.

Make a Referral

Call the Physician Direct Connect Line toll free at (877) 355-0221, for physician consults and to coordinate a patient transport, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

featured video

Leif Nelin, MD, on small baby guidelines.
Sounds of Love Program in NICU at Nationwide Children's Hospital
The Section of Neonatology at Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000