Experts in Caring for the Sickest Babies

Care provider and infant
  • We regularly care for the sickest newborns, from the tiniest preemies to full-term babies. Our 32-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is the first in the state to be designated level IV. That’s the highest level possible.
  • At Seattle Children’s, your baby will get care from a whole team of experts. We have experience treating every complex condition your child may have.
  • We are the only hospital in the Pacific Northwest that provides 24/7 access to all of the pediatric medical and surgical specialists. These include neonatologists, pharmacists, nutritionists, cardiologists, lung specialists and surgeons.
  • All level III and IV NICUs in our region refer babies to Seattle Children’s NICU for the specialized care that only we provide. Our region includes Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WAMI).
  • Our transport team of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists are national leaders in safely moving fragile newborns. They bring more than 500 critically ill babies to Seattle Children’s every year by ambulance, helicopter or airplane.
  • If a problem is found during pregnancy, our Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment team can give you vital information about your baby and monitor their condition. We coordinate with your birth hospital to plan for a safe delivery. We prepare for the special care your baby will need at birth and beyond.
  • Seattle Children’s newborn specialists also provide care at 7 other NICUs and nurseries in our region. If your baby does not need the special services we provide, they can stay closer to home while receiving outstanding care.

Partnering With You on Award-Winning Care

US News and World Report badge: Best Children's Hospital, Ranked in 10 SpecialtiesParents are key members of the team at Seattle Children’s. We offer a comforting environment for you and your family. Together, we work to improve your baby’s quality of life, not just meet their medical needs. 

Experts in newborn care will lead your baby’s team. Your child may also get care from Seattle Children’s specialists in:

All these programs are top-ranked in the Northwest and rated among the nation’s best in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report. Seattle Children’s ranks in the top 20 for all specialty programs rated in 2017. Only 6 U.S. hospitals do.

We stay in close communication with you – and with each other – to plan and provide the best treatment for your child.

The Most Advanced Treatments

Sleeping infantWe provide the most advanced treatments and services in the region. Some are offered nowhere else in the Northwest.

  • Complex surgeries to repair defects affecting the brain and spinal cord, airway, heart and abdominal wall. Our outcomes for heart surgery are consistently among the best in the nation.
  • The largest team of anesthesiologists who specialize in treating only babies and children. Managing your baby’s pain is critical to their healing.
  • State-of-the-art care for all types of breathing problems. As needed, we treat your newborn with different kinds of breathing machines (conventional ventilators, jet ventilators or high-frequency oscillators). We use inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) to treat respiratory failure and high blood pressure in the lungs. Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) can take over if your baby’s heart or lungs are not working well and need time to heal. Our ECLS team has some of the nation’s best outcomes.
  • Neuro NICU provides innovative care for babies with problems affecting their brains (neurological conditions). We use cutting-edge technology to keep a careful watch on your baby. This includes video electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor their brain, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to measure blood flow in their brain and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for noninvasive imaging. We also provide body cooling (hypothermia) to reduce the risk of brain injury in babies who did not get enough oxygen at birth.
  • Craniofacial team, including specialists from fields such as otolaryngology, plastic surgery and craniofacial pediatrics, to care for infants with cleft lip and palate and other conditions affecting their head and face.
  • Mobile life support, including ECLS if needed, to bring babies to Seattle Children’s from anywhere in Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii or Oregon. We also can use body cooling during transport.

Improving Quality of Life

Child walking and holding adult's hand
  • Our experts focus on how today’s treatment will affect your child as they grow. We base treatment plans on years of experience and the newest research on what works best and most safely.
  • We are building a neurocritical care program to help protect the brains of critically ill patients throughout our hospital. The effort involves experts in neonatology, neurosurgery, neurology and critical care.
  • When your baby is ready to leave the NICU, their nurses and doctors will work with the new care team on a smooth, safe transition. Your baby may move to another care team at Seattle Children’s or to a hospital near your home.
  • We help you prepare for home care before your baby leaves the hospital. To support your child as they grow, we offer specialized follow-up care, including:
    • Neurodevelopmental follow-up program for high-risk babies. Children may need these services if they were born too soon (premature) or with a neural tube defect or problems with their brain or heart.
    • The only pediatric Reconstructive Pelvic Medicine clinic on the West Coast. We offer a range of services and support to help your child live fully and actively.
    • Intestinal Rehabilitation Program, providing diet, medicines and surgery to improve the health of the intestines and avoid a transplant.
    • Surgery Pulmonary Follow-Up Clinic for children who have had major chest surgery that might affect their lungs over the long term. Our clinic gives families a single place to come for treatment and advice from experts.
     

Leaders in Research to Advance Care

Doctors and infant in incubatorOur researchers are internationally known for their work to protect and heal the brains of at-risk newborns. At highest risk are babies born very early (micro-preemies) or those who did not get enough oxygen at childbirth (asphyxia).

Babies in our care can take part in research studies of promising new treatments. These are called clinical trials. Dr. Sandra “Sunny” Juul is a leader of 2 multicenter national studies:

  • Using high doses of the hormone erythropoietin (Epo) combined with body cooling to treat babies if their brains did not get enough oxygen at birth. Researchers will test the babies’ thinking and movement at age 2. The goal is to save lives and improve outcomes. The multicenter study is called HEAL (High-dose Erythropoietin for Asphyxia and Encephalopathy). This work builds on earlier research by Juul and Dr. Dennis Mayock. See Researchers Combine Therapies to Find a Better Way to Treat Brain Injury in Infants.
  • Testing if Epo can reduce the negative effects that premature birth can have on the brain. Dr. Juul is a pioneer in research to improve development of newborn brains. The study is called PENUT (Preterm Epo Neuroprotection Trial). Read more about Juul’s research.

Our physician–scientists also:

  • Study and test innovative mechanical heart devices. Our goal is to develop safer, more effective devices for children with breathing problems or very weak hearts.
  • Look for the best ways to reduce stress in the NICU and relieve pain. They also study the long-term effects of stress and pain on the developing brain.

Learn more about Seattle Children’s research to improve newborn care.

Support for Your Whole Family

Mother holding sleeping infant in her arms
  • At Seattle Children’s, your family has a full team behind you. Our goal is to get you and your baby home – or back to a hospital close to home – as soon as possible.
  • We work with you to make decisions and treatment plans for your baby. We invite you to share your insights, questions and concerns during daily meetings of your baby’s healthcare team. The meetings are called “rounds.” Consultations are available to help you sort through confusing or difficult medical issues.
  • We work with many children and families from around the Northwest and beyond. We can help with financial counseling, housing, transportation, interpreter services and spiritual care.

Here When You Need Us

Newborns and premature babies with complex conditions get care in the NICU at Seattle Children’s main campus in Seattle.

If your baby is born early (premature) and just needs extra time in the hospital to grow and develop, they may get care close to home. Seattle Children’s newborn care specialists take care of babies in the NICUs and nurseries at our affiliate hospitals:

  • CHI Franciscan Health in Tacoma
  • Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale
  • Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue
  • Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett
  • Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia
  • Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon
  • UW Medicine Valley Medical Center in Renton

Oliver Bounces Back After Lifesaving Surgery in the NICU

Baby Oliver in Santas armsOliver was too fragile to move. So he got the surgery he needed right in his NICU room. A month later, he went home. Read Oliver’s story.

Contact Us

  • If your baby will need care in our NICU and you have questions or would like to arrange a tour, contact us at 206-987-2675.
  • If your baby is in our NICU and you need to reach a nurse, call 206-987-2041. 

Providers

  • For a phone consultation with a neonatologist, call 206-987-7777 or 866-987-7777 (toll free).
  • If you need neonatal emergency transport, call 206-987-8899 or 866-987-8899 (toll free).
  • See how to transfer a patient.
  • To learn about simulation-based training for childbirth and transport teams, call our Neonatal Outreach Education Program at 206-987-5170.