New Cameras Let Parents Watch Babies in KU Hospital's NICU

KANSAS CITY, Kan. —Parents with premature babies at the University of Kansas Hospital can now see their children from their phones or computers.

The hospital received grant money from Royals Charities to buy nearly two dozen incubator cameras.

The cameras went live Wednesday and parents with children in the neonatal intensive care unit are thrilled.

Sarah Ellerbeck said she would stay by her premature son’s side around the clock if she could. But she and her husband and their 14-month-old son live two hours away from the hospital.

“Joshua was born at about 30 weeks and six days,” she said. “He has a C-cam, which is basically a cyst in his lung.”

Ellerbeck is waiting for her 3-week-old to get bigger so he can undergo surgery. The hospital’s new camera system allows her to see Joshua when she can’t physically be there.

“It’s really neat to get on the phone and see Joshua and see if he’s sleeping and if he’s awake and how he’s laying in here and what he’s doing,” Ellerbeck said.

Twenty other new moms can now do the same thing.

“I had a mom that lives about two hours away,” said Laurie Hay, a University of Kansas Hospital nurse. “She started crying. She was so happy that she was going to be able to see her baby while she’s at home.”

Nurses said the camera system is a precious gift.

“They don’t have to spend 24-7 in the NICU if they don’t want to, but if they want to, they can,” Hay said. “It’s just a nice way for them to see their baby whenever they want.”

To use the program, parents just need to sign up for it. They can watch the live video from anywhere and share it with friends and family members.

The hospitals also received another grant from Royals Charities this year that helped purchase a Pea Pod, a spaceship-like device that allows nurses to check an infant’s vital signs.