THE Royal Bolton Hospital has issued an appeal for donations of little knitted hats for newborn babies.

Staff on the maternity unit have called on knitters to create hats, which provide valuable protection for newborn babies, and help prevent the risk of hypothermia.

Babies can get very cold after birth due to the drop in temperature between the womb and the outside environment.

Kelly Christie, Midwifery Matron, said: “We have put out an appeal to ask for help knitting hats for new babies born at Royal Bolton Hospital, particularly red coloured hats, and we have had many kind messages from people saying they would love to help out.

“It is really important to keep babies warm after delivery, especially their heads and particularly if they have been born early or poorly.

“Not every parent remembers to bring a hat with them and sometimes the birth is earlier or quicker than expected.

“We are looking for as many people as are able to contribute, as many babies are born here at the hospital and at Ingleside Birth and Community Centre. Thank you to anyone who has the time to contribute.”

About 450 hats are required for newborns at Royal Bolton each month. The hospital has appealed for small red knitted hats for premature babies that need extra care, and also for hats of all colours for other babies.

The knitted hats are placed on babies shortly after birth, with evidence showing that this has significantly reduced the unexpected full-term admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit.

The ‘knit and natter’ group associated with St Catherine’s Care Home in Horwich are among those who have responded to the appeal. Last month the group donated a batch of about 200, and they have pledged to continue creating the hats during their Friday morning sessions.

Gillian Johnson, care home manager, said: “The group has already begun making some festive patterns, including a Christmas pudding and elf hats, for babies born on Christmas Day. The ladies are really enjoying their involvement in this project, so we will definitely make some more.”

Knitted hats should be sent to: c/o Matron Kelly Christie at Maternity Unit, Royal Bolton Hospital, Wolfenden Crescent, Farnworth, Bolton, BL3 0JR.