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MUNSTER | When Nathan C. Splant arrived 15 weeks prematurely on Jan. 10, 2004 in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Community Hospital, he weighed less than 2 pounds and was 12 inches long.

Today, he is a healthy, happy 10-year-old, but his parents, Phil and Kimberly Splant, of St. John, have never forgotten the health care team that made their dream of having a child a reality.

In gratitude, the Splant family continues to enhance the lives of those touched by prematurity through the auspices of the Nathan C. Splant Foundation. The foundation looks to make a significant difference in the lives of those born too early and too small through its grant giving program, special event fundraisers and Helping Hands for Preemies campaign.

“If Nathan only realized what took place back then and how hard all these wonderful people worked on him,” Phil Splant said. “We are glad to be able to give back to help.”

The latest donation, $2,500, will help Community Hospital nurses spread the message of safe sleep practices and also provide HALO SleepSacks™ to babies in the hospital’s NICU.

“Our family couldn’t have done it without the dedication and compassion of all those involved with Nathan’s recovery – the doctors, nurses, therapists and special program aides,” Kim Splant said.

Nurse educators, including Mary Puntillo, RNC-NIC, RNC-LRN, neonatal clinician at Community Hospital, have been spreading the message of safe sleeping methods for babies in an effort to move Lake County out of the position as the Indiana county with the highest number of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths  deaths.

SUIDs, for the most part, are preventable and are a result of unsafe sleep practices.

“Safe sleep practices are taught from the get go,” Puntillo said. “We are committed to spreading the message of “baby ‘Back’ to Sleep; By Myself; in a Naked Crib.” New moms are seeing it; hearing it from the moment baby is born, and we’re teaching it in our communities with Taking Care of Baby and Grandparent classes,” Puntillo said.

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