The NICU at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Childrens NICU-1Note to Parents and Families: Your baby may be admitted to the Children’s Hospital Colorado NICU from one of several places; many babies are transferred via emergency medical transport from their delivery hospital or NICU, or after a planned surgical procedure at Children’s. Others may be admitted after evaluation in an emergency room, urgent care center or your pediatrician’s office. Infants up to 3 months of age are admitted to the NICU.

As part of the Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital Colorado provides expertise, compassion and support to help you achieve the best possible outcomes for your newborn and your family. Our NICU is committed to providing family-centered care in a home-like setting with private rooms. Parents are allowed to be with their newborns 24 hours a day and parents are provided daily communications by the medical team.

For more than 40 years, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Colorado has been a nationally recognized leader in the treatment of critically ill infants. Our state-of-the-art facility provides 82 critical care beds for infants up to 3 months of age and is designated a Level IV NICU, the highest distinction granted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children's Colorado’s NICU is the first in the nation to be named a Center of Excellence for Neonatal Services by United Resource Networks. We are also proud that the NICU program at Children's Hospital Colorado was ranked among the top NICU programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report for 2016-2017.

Our NICU treats more than 1,300 infants annually from Colorado and across the nation. It is the only NICU in the region with the experience and technology to treat virtually any medical condition affecting newborns. Our doctors have pioneered many critical developments in neonatal care and in many cases were the first in the world to use new therapies, including:

  • Surfactant replacement for premature babies’ lungs
  • Inhaled nitric oxide therapy for pulmonary hypertension
  • Brain cooling for perinatal brain injury
  • Inhaled nitric oxide to prevent premature lung disease
  • Optimal nutritional strategies for low birth weight babies

Why choose Children’s Colorado?

We are committed to providing family-centered care. The best outcome for your child will be achieved by families and healthcare professionals working together as partners. In this relationship, each partner values communication, accountability, respect and a supportive environment. Parents participate in daily rounds with the medical team and are important members of each baby’s care team.

The facility is designed to provide a home-like setting, so you can be by your baby’s side 24 hours a day. We encourage siblings and family members to visit. Our NICU supports your new baby in a healing environment by using sophisticated technology such as specialized flooring that reduces noise, acoustic ceiling tiles, indirect lighting to promote healthy brain development, and spacious private rooms for each.

We provide:
•    82 private critical care rooms (including 8 twin rooms)
     o    Double bed for parents to sleep in their child’s room
     o    Storage area for personal belongings
     o    Personal bathroom
     o    Free wireless access
     o    TV/DVD
•    Milk lab for safe storage and preparation of breast milk
•    Breast pumps / breast milk warmers for each patient room
•    Private breast pumping rooms
•    Family lounges
•    Family sleep rooms
•    Laundry facilities
•    Remote web-based visitation capabilities
•    Music therapy
•    Family Support Program (sponsored by March of Dimes)
•    Reading library

View a typical NICU patient room.

Our team

The staff in the NICU includes a diverse and highly experienced group of professionals. Learn more about the team here.

Conditions we treat

Services and Programs at Children's Hospital Colorado NICU

We provide the highest level of neonatal care with all available therapies onsite.

Neonatal surgery: A multidisciplinary neonatal surgical team, including Pediatric Surgeons and Neonatologists, works together to provide care to infants with complex surgical needs utilizing the latest in surgical and ICU care.  
Neonatal ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) Program: Since 1988, our Neonatal ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) Program has provided sophisticated respiratory and cardiac support to more than 150 of our sickest babies. We are one of fewer than 100 such programs nationally, and Children's Colorado was designated a national ECMO Center of Excellence in 2012.
Brain cooling for perinatal brain injury: We are one of the most experienced NICUs in the nation providing this important therapy to improve neurologic outcomes for babies born with brain injuries. Our brain cooling team includes neonatologists, pediatric neurologists, pediatric neuroradiologists, neonatal therapists, and provides long-term neurologic follow-up for infants.
Respiratory failure management: Experienced physicians with special expertise in complex ventilator management, including High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation, Inhaled Nitric Oxide and ECMO.
Neonatal dialysis program: Team approach to the care of infants with kidney failure or rare inherited metabolic conditions requiring peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis. Children's Hospital Colorado is the only center in the region offering this therapy with a dedicated Renal Failure team.
Short Bowel program: Long-term management program for infants with severe intestinal and nutritional complications, overseen by neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, pediatric gastroenterologists, and neonatal registered dieticians.
Chronic Ventilator Care program: Care of infants with a need for prolonged or complex ventilator support. A multidisciplinary team of neonatologists, pediatric pulmonologists, pulmonary hypertension experts, pulmonary rehabilitation specialists, and therapists provide longitudinal support to these patients over the course of their hospitalization.
Neonatal critical care transport (Flight for Life): Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Flight for Life Newborn and Infant Critical Care team provides life-saving treatment to infants during their transfer to our hospital. We are one of only a few centers nationally that can provide high frequency oscillatory ventilation during transport for our sickest patients during transport. Our highly experienced Flight for Life team is also available to transfer your infant back to your community hospital once your baby is stable and no longer needs specialized services on the Anschutz medical campus, if approved by your baby’s medical team. More details here.
Lactation Services: Our Lactation Support Service helps new, breastfeeding mothers provide milk for their newborns in the NICU, with Milk Lab storage and feeding assistance. Donor breast milk is available at no cost to families if necessary. More details here.
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Team: A comprehensive approach to CDH management, beginning at the time of diagnosis, and providing one of the best success rates in the nation for CDH survival. Members of this team are active in clinical and basic science research aimed at understanding and improving outcomes for infants with CDH.
Pulmonary Hypertension Team: Multidisciplinary team approach to inpatient management of pulmonary hypertension, as well as follow up after discharge home. This team is recognized as an international leader in the care and management of neonates and children with pulmonary hypertension.
Neonatal Stroke Team: A specialized team will evaluate and manage newborns diagnosed with stroke or brain injury.
Dedicated NICU support services including: neonatal pharmacist, neonatal registered dieticians, social workers, case manager, occupational, speech and physical therapists.

Comprehensive care and treatment for high-risk and routine pregnancies

The Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health offers mothers, babies and their families comprehensive care and treatment before, during and after high-risk or routine pregnancies. This partnership integrates adult and pediatric specialists from Children’s Colorado, the University of Colorado Hospital and the University of Colorado School of Medicine into one team with five core specialties (Obstetrics, Maternal Fetal Medicine, the Colorado Fetal Care Center, Neonatology and Fetal Cardiology) to coordinate care before your baby is even born.