Frequently Asked Questions

Answering common questions

Texas Children’s has decades of experience providing support for the families of critically ill infants. Our compassionate staff care deeply, not only for the newborn babies in their care, but for the parents and families facing a NICU experience. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.


While a Level III NICU at another hospital may offer some of the same services available at Texas Children’s, one of the features that makes our care so special is our team of experts. We’re home to nationally known neonatologists and neonatal specialists — some of whom serve on national committees and with the American Academy of Pediatrics and work to set the national standards on how critically ill newborns are treated. They conduct research, and they train many of the nation’s neonatologists through presentations at conferences, symposiums and published articles and books. They also run one of the country's largest fellowship training programs.

Additionally, Texas Children’s is one of only two hospitals in the area with the highest level NICU, Level IV. This means that a baby in our NICU has immediate access to specialized doctors, such as pediatric cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, neurosurgeons and radiologists, and treatments, such as the highest level of respiratory support.

Texas Children’s cares for many babies who were born elsewhere — locally, nationally and internationally. When a newborn baby’s health is critical, minutes count. That’s why Texas Children’s has opened the new Pavilion for Women to provide full-service maternity care as well as blended Level II/Level III NICU. If your newborn needs access to other subspecialists, he or she can be moved easily to Texas Children’s Newborn Level IV NICU. This allows women’s services and neonatal services to work seamlessly to help sick infants in either facility.

If your critically ill infant was born elsewhere, Texas Children’s also provides neonatal transport through our Kangaroo Crew — a specialized transport service that brings babies, in need of specialty neonatal care, from outlying hospitals to Texas Children’s.

The transport team is specially trained in transporting critically ill babies. The team is supervised by a neonatologist and includes the expertise of a neonatal nurse, a neonatal respiratory therapist and, as needed, a neonatal nurse practitioner on each transport. The Kangaroo Crew fleet, composed of ambulances and a fixed-wing aircraft, safely transports more than 700 babies to the Texas Children’s NICU each year.

Texas Children’s is affiliated with the Level II NICUs in four community hospitals located throughout the region. At these facilities, you’ll receive Texas Children’s standard of care close to home and the option of immediate transfer to Texas Children’s Level IV NICU if needed.

To request transfer of a newborn to Texas Children’s, your doctor should call 832-824-5550 in Houston, or 877-770-5550  (toll-free) outside the Houston area.

Kangaroo Crew is a specialized transport service that efficiently and safely brings critically ill babies and children who need specialty neonatal pediatric care to Texas Children's.

Yes. A parent or family member can stay with the baby 24/7. In fact, we see parents as an integral part of the care team. We encourage parental presence as much as possible in the NICU.

The team assigned to each infant in intensive care varies according to that baby’s needs. Every team includes a neonatologist, a specially trained neonatal nurse and other newborn specialists.

Texas Children’s offers excellent breastfeeding and lactation services and support for hospitalized babies through the Milk Bank. In many cases, mothers can pump breast milk and feed their babies in the NICU or store it for future feedings during hospitalization.

If you’re unable to visit your baby in the NICU at Texas Children's, you can stay in touch with your baby’s care team in several ways. We’re always happy to update you frequently on your baby’s condition by telephone. If you’re recuperating at other select hospitals, you may request to use Family Vision, which enables you to see your baby and interact with the care team at Texas Children’s via a video/audio link.

According to March of Dimes, 1 in 10 babies will require neonatal intensive care. Babies may need the specialized care of a NICU for many reasons, including if they were:

  • Born early (premature)
  • Diagnosed with a health condition recognized before the baby is born
  • Experienced an especially difficult delivery
  • Showed signs of a health problem in the first few days of life

A baby’s stay in the NICU depends upon his or her specific condition. A NICU stay can range from one day to several months.

Some of the most common conditions treated in Texas Children’s NICUs include:

  • Prematurity
  • Breathing or lung problems
  • Birth defects
  • Genetic conditions
  • Heart disease
  • Infections
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Ophthalmologic (eye/vision) conditions or defects

Texas Children’s NICUs

When you need advanced, family-centered care for your baby, turn to Texas Children’s.