CALLING all knitters – the Royal Oldham Hospital’s tiniest patients are in need of help.

The hospital is looking for natty knitters to donate hand-made bobble hats for new-born babies.

It recently introduced a traffic light hat initiative for new arrivals that helps to ensure all babies receive the right level of care.

New-born babies can lose heat very quickly, which can lead to them becoming unwell.

Each baby born on the postnatal ward at the Royal Oldham Hospital will receive a bobble hat when they are born, which indicates to staff and parents the level of care that is right for them.

The bobble hats will be knitted with a red, amber or green bobble – just like a traffic light system, using soft baby wool and to any new-born hat pattern.

Postnatal ward manager Melanie Wildman said: “Keeping a baby warm in the first few hours of life is important and babies that are warm tend to do much better. We think the traffic light hats are a great visual aid for our midwives to easily identify babies that may need a little more help or care in those first few hours.”

Red hats are for babies who are more at risk, maybe because of infection, who may need more regular neonatal observations by a nurse or midwife.

Amber hats are for babies who may require a little more attention because they were born premature or a low birth weight. These babies may need a little extra help with feeding or keeping warm.

Green hats are for lower risk babies who only require routine observations because they were born healthy and are a good weight.

The hats are only worn for the first 24 hours of the baby’s life before their individual care is reassessed. A badge is then attached to the bed to indicate the level of care required and to ensure safe sleeping for baby. Mums can then take the hats home as a keepsake to remember the birth of their baby.

The new initiative has successfully been used by other hospitals including the Royal United Hospital in Bath. In Oldham, the initiative is already underway and donations have already been received from keen volunteer knitters throughout the North West.

To celebrate the launch of the scheme and to say thanks for the hats already received, staff from the postnatal ward invited mums and volunteer knitters to a special tea party on the ward.

Knitters should contact postnatal ward Melanie Wildman on 0161 627 8181 or by e-mail:

From left Amy Carlon with baby Freya, Mel Wildman ward manager, Jennie Andrews with baby Teddie, Simon Mehigan head of midwifery, Nicola Firth, director of nursing/chief officer, Fay Read with baby Theo