About Us

Premature infants and sick infants often need the kind of medical attention and care only found in a newborn intensive care unit like Texas Children’s Hospital Newborn Center.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Texas Children’s Hospital is the first to be designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) as a level IV NICU, the highest level of care available for premature and critically-ill newborns. 

More than 1,800 infants are cared for each year in the Texas Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), making us one of the largest, most experienced NICUs in the country. We provide all services that critically ill or premature babies might need, including on-site neonatologists available 24/7, the highest level of respiratory support, advanced imaging, pediatric surgery, pediatric anesthesiology and more.

NICU at Texas Children's Hospital

Our Level 4 NICU provides the highest level of care. In our Level 4 NICU we care for babies:

  • who are born prematurely
  • who are critically ill
  • who have birth defects

Our Level 2 NICU cares for babies who are healthier, bigger and may be ready to transition to home.

Not all NICUs are the same

As one of only two level IV NICUs in the Greater Houston area and beyond, Texas Children’s offers the highest level of neonatal intensive care available, providing world-class expertise, experience and cutting-edge technology to treat complex conditions affecting newborns. In fact, many area hospitals with less advanced Level III NICUs transfer their infants to Texas Children’s Newborn Center for the highest level of specialized care available.

Size and volume matters in a NICU because research shows that babies treated in hospitals with highly experienced staff who treat the most babies have better outcomes. That’s because no matter how complex a premature or sick a baby might be, our doctors, nurses and other neonatal and pediatric specialists have likely seen it and treated it before.

And being a Level IV means that Texas Children’s Newborn Center provides the most complex, most complete neonatal care available anywhere in the Houston region. Because our NICU is a part of Texas Children’s Hospital, leading physicians in virtually every pediatric subspecialty can visit your baby at the bedside, working with your baby’s neonatal medical team to provide the highest level of care.

Focused on your baby

Because these babies require intensive care around the clock, dedicated neonatologists, nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists are on-site 24/7. A neonatal nurse is assigned to each baby, providing consistent, compassionate care.

At Texas Children’s, your baby will have the benefit of the latest advances in evidence-based treatments combined with extensive family support to help build early bonds, even for ill infants.

Planning for NICU care

According to the March of Dimes, approximately 1 in 10 babies will need neonatal intensive care, which means complications are possible in even the most “normal” pregnancy. That’s why Texas Children’s Newborn Center specialists recommend that every expectant family develop a baby urgent medical plan (or B.U.M.P.), so you’ll know where to seek care should a health issue arise – because immediately after birth is no time to evaluate neonatal intensive care units.

For the best possible peace of mind, consider delivering at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, where our subspecialists are just steps away to care for any health care need your baby may have. Ask your obstetrician to help you deliver your baby with Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

NICU Levels: What do they mean?

NICU levels are defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Level 4 – Highest level available, maintaining a full range of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on-site
  • Level 3 – Provide sustained life support and prompt, readily available access to full range of pediatric subspecialists
  • Level 2 – Intensive care for sick and premature infants who need extra support
  • Level 1 – Regular nursery care available at most hospitals that deliver babies

Texas Children’s NICU

  • Level 4 and 2 NICU care
  • Most experienced in greater Houston area
  • Partners with family at every step
  • Neonatologist on-site 24/7
  • All pediatric specialties available 24/7