An event that began in North American hospitals three years ago, has now made its way to Windsor Regional Hospital.

The Kangaroo Care-A-Thon, running from May 2 to May 15, is promoting kangaroo care or, ‘skin-to-skin’ care, which has proven to be an integral part of the healthy care of a newborn baby.

Last year, more than 40 hospitals from around the world participated in the Kangaroo Challenge.   

Windsor Regional Hospital’ s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Family Birthing Centre is partnering with the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation for the initiative.

Officials say kangaroo care is proven to be an integral part of the healthy care of a newborn baby, especially beneficial in premature infants.

The skin-to-skin care can apparently improve growth, reduce stress and crying and, assist to facilitate breastfeeding for both baby and mom. 

Dad as well is encouraged to participate in kangaroo care as it helps both baby and parents enhance their natural bond and strengthens short and long term parent-infant interactions.

Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital NICU is the international organizer, mentoring hospitals to participate and attempt to beat last year’s winners.  They included Oregon’s Salem Hospital achieving 2.56 hours of holding baby per day and Orillia, Ontario Soldier’s Memorial Hospital coming in at 2.44 hours of holding per baby per day.

Windsor Regional Hospital’s team is ready for the challenge.

“Each family will receive an information letter, a kangaroo sticker reminder at their bedside and log sheet to tally their kangaroo cuddle hours,” said Heather Ryan, clinical practice coordinator in the NICU. 

“As well, we have information around the units and staff will be wearing a designed purple t-shirt to promote the challenge, along with developing quiet time on the units to assist with kangaroo care.”

May 15 is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day.