Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Headbox Oxygen

A headbox is basically a hard plastic box that sits directly over your preemie baby’s head while she is laying down and it is curved to allow room for her neck and it has oxygen tubing plugs at the top.  With just the head covered the nurses can still easily change your preemie’s diapers and clothes and do other medical checks on them.

I was totally weirded out at the thought of headbox oxygen when the doctors first mentioned it to me.  It seemed so claustrophobic!  My preemie was put under the headbox the day she was moved to an open crib – when she was 33w5d gestation.  At that time she weighed 4 lb 6 oz and she was on and off the headbox until she weighed 7 lb 6 oz.  By that time her head was so big under the little headbox that it really was ridiculous, there was literally no wiggle room!  We had a cloth ring we were trying to fit under her head as well to help shape her head, and that made the space even more squishy.  They finally moved her to an oxygen tent at that point.

The reason we tried the head box on my preemie is because we thought the nasal cannula prongs might be irritating her nose and causing extra dryness in her nasal passages.  The headbox provided warm and humidified oxygen which we hoped would make her breathing easier and be more comfortable.  Sometimes it would get so humid in there that it would fog up and start dripping water so I had to lift the headbox off and wipe it down ocassionally.  I was sure my poor little preemie hated when it fogged up because she couldn’t see anything, and I hated it because I couldn’t see her!  When she was under the headbox I could not hold her whenever I wanted to and that was very difficult for me.  I had expected to be able to hold her all of the time once she was in an open crib, but that was not the case.

All things considered, I think that the headbox was good for my preemie and I was simply amazed at all of the different options that were available in the NICU for taking care of my preemie.  Thank goodness for modern technology.  I remind all of you to try and be grateful for all that is available to help your baby survive and thrive in the NICU.  Being grateful will make your experience bearable and more memorable, and a positive attitude in the NICU will surely bring hope to yourself and everyone around you.  We all know the NICU can use more of that!

Did your preemie baby spend some time under a headbox?  How long did he need it and was it helpful?  Please tell us about it.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. at present i m studying m.sc.nursing in pediatric nursing. i m doing research on oxygen therapy in children with head box. this content is very useful for me.

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