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  October 2, 2000

Health Center Nursery Web Page
Celebrates Its First Birthday

During the past year, more than 500 bundles of joy have traveled into cyberspace to visit grandparents and relatives around the world, thanks to UConn Health Center's "web nursery."

The web page, now celebrating its first birthday, has proven very popular. Most parents are delighted to have their baby's picture on the web, says Rick Daddario of the Health Center's Communications Office. "It gives parents a way to share their joy with family members who may be a continent away," says Daddario, who until recently photographed most of the babies.

Getting babies photo-ready is the job of newborn intensive care nurse and developmental educator Dorothy Vittner. "Making a few adjustments of the blanket or camouflaging equipment is usually all that's needed," she says. "The babies don't need much primping. They're naturally cute."

Janine Gelineau of the Video Communications Office, who now takes most of the photos, says she tries to capture an expression that is unique to each baby. "With enough patience, it can be done even with the youngest or smallest babies," she says.

Camille earned the distinction of being the first Health Center web baby. Camille's mother told the baby's grandparents in New York about the web site, and they then told relatives in Australia and California. "It was a great idea," says mom, "and no surnames were used so it protected our privacy."

The baby's first name, weight, height, length, the parents' first names, and the name of the delivering physician appear on the site. This information lets friends and relatives find "their baby."

There is no charge for baby web travel. Parents simply fill-out a consent form, and Sheryl Rosen, web communications officer at the Health Center, makes sure the photos go on the nursery web-page in a timely fashion, usually within 24 hours.

Typically photos remain on the web page for about three months. Babies in the newborn intensive care unit, who for medical reasons must remain in the hospital for weeks or sometimes months, have their photos updated. This gives parents the chance to share the baby's progress with friends and family who might

otherwise not see the baby.

Friends and relatives, near and far, tell parents they are thrilled to "visit" the web babies and, like all proud parents, moms and dads are happy to show the pictures.

See the babies at by selecting "Visit our Web Nursery."

Jane Shaskan