Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t the Level 3 NICU at my community hospital as good as the one at Texas Children’s?
While a Level 3 at another hospital may offer some of the same services available at Texas Children’s Newborn Center, one of the things that makes our care so special is our team of experts. Texas Children’s Newborn Center is 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, symposias 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 2 hospitals in the area with the highest level NICU, Level 4. 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, that lower Level 3 NICUs can't offer.
Can’t we just move my baby to Texas Children’s Newborn Center if we need specialty care?
Texas Children’s Newborn Center 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 2/3 NICU. If your newborn needs access to other subspecialists, she can be moved easily to Texas Children’s Newborn Level 4 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 Hospital.
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, comprised of ambulances and a fixed-wing aircraft, safely transports more than 700 babies to the Texas Children’s NICU each year.
Do I have to drive into the Medical Center to get Texas Children’s care for my baby?
Actually, Texas Children’s is affiliated with the Level 2 NICUs in 4 community hospitals located throughout the region. At these facilities you’ll get Texas Children’s standard of care close to home and the option of immediate transfer to Texas Children’s Level 4 NICU if needed.
How can I arrange for my newborn baby to be transferred to Texas Children's NICU?
To request transfer of a newborn to Texas Children's Newborn Center, your doctor should call:
- 832-824-5550 in Houston
- 877-770-5550 (toll-free) outside Houston area
What is Kangaroo Crew?
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 Hospital.
Can a parent or family member be with my newborn baby at all times?
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.
Who will be taking care of my newborn baby? What will they be doing?
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.
What if I want to breastfeed my baby?
Texas Children's offers excellent breastfeeding and lactation services and support for hospitalized babies through the Mother's 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
What if I am hospitalized and unable to go to Texas Children's with my baby?
If you are unable to visit your baby in the NICU at Texas Children's, there are several ways to stay in touch with your baby’s care team. We are always happy to update you frequently on your baby’s condition by telephone. If you are recuperating at other select hospitals, you may request to use Family Vision, which allows you to see your baby and interact with the care team at Texas Children's Hospital via a video/audio link.