Holiday/Special Donations to Iowa NICUs

NOTE: TPP does NOT need donations of regular hats and booties, preemie or newborn sized. The only hats we can use are those for holidays and special events and white hats of all sizes for our infant bereavement program. 

The Preemie Project donates special knit and crochet hats and booties and costumes to Iowa NICUs for holidays and special events throughout the year.  Volunteers make holiday hats and booties sized for infants weighing from 1lb up to 11lbs. Many will include diaper covers, cocoon or other costume items with the hats and booties to make a full costume for the festivities.  Holiday donations for 2018 include Easter, 4th of July, Cy-Hawk Challenge (UI vs ISU football),  Halloween and Christmas.

Refer to our Event Calendar for important mail-by dates and information about each donation.

Sizes Needed

For holiday donations to Iowa NICUs, all sizes are needed.  But, many more of the 3-5lb and 6-8lb size is needed and fewer of the tiniest 1-3 lb sizes.  A good rule of thumb is:

For every 10 hats you make, there should be 1 1-1.5lb, 2 2-3lb, 3 3-5lb, 3 6-8lb, 1 9-11lb
Colors needed for Holiday Items:

Because these items are for special occasions, you are free to use the color of your choice.  Please make more than half of the items in colors suitable for little boys. If the item has any pink in it, the nurses will consider it to be a girl hat.

NOTE: Yellow is not a good color for sick infants.

Crafting Guidelines:
  • Refer to our Measurements Guide for size guidelines.
  • We always need more boy sets than girl.
  • Knit and crochet hats are most in need.  Please do not send sewn fleece or jersey knit hats unless they are part of a costume.
  • Hats must stretch easily over tiny heads. Make sure to bind off loosely.
  • Please do NOT send bonnet style hats. The ties and fasteners on a bonnet pose a risk of strangulation.
  • Booties should be made from a pattern that is not holey. Holes in booties pose a hazard for tiny toes.
  • Make sure the opening to the bootie is bound off loosely. If the opening of the bootie does not stretch, it cannot be put on the tiny foot
  • Although booties are not required with each hat, a matching set of hat and booties makes a wonderful memento of the NICU stay.
  • When making a hat/bootie set or other costume items, please make sure everything is in the same size range or the set will be split up.
  • Do not end your knitting or crocheting with a knot.  Leave a length of yarn and  weave the ends very well. Here is a good tutorial on how to do that if you knit. And, here is a how to weave in ends if you crochet
  • Please visit the “Volunteer Information” section of the website for information on sizing, yarn requirements and pattern suggestions.
  • For holiday donations, we would welcome sewn costumes for the babies.  Please contact us so we can discuss how to size your item for preemies and sick infants.
Pattern Suggestions:

Any pattern may be used as long as the crafting guidelines are followed. Visit our pattern page for cute pattern suggestions. We also “pin” cute ideas on The Preemie Project Pinterest Page.

Third Hand Smoke Policy

In accordance with hospital policies, items from smoking homes will not be donated to hospitals for use in the NICU. Research has proven that tobacco and tobacco smoke clings to furniture, clothes, walls. This is called “third hand smoke”. “Third hand smoke” cannot be adequately washed out of fabrics and thus raises the risks for many illness in children. Please see the March of Dimes website for more information.

Reviewed/Updated 7/23/2018