CORAL GABLES, Fla. (WSVN) — One South Florida student is taking it upon herself to help premature babies grow strong before leaving the hospital.
Eighth grade student Melanie Martucci attends Gulliver Academy and learned that babies born prematurely lose most of their body heat through their heads. Martucci decided to hand-knit soft, hypoallergenic baby hats for neonatal units at Baptist Hospital in Kendall.
"I’ve always liked babies and kids, so I knew that it would be something I would enjoy doing as my community service project," said Martucci.
She found the funds and, most importantly, sterile equipment.
The hats take her about 15 minutes to make, but Martucci said, after tons of practice, she can sometimes crank out a hat in under 10 minutes.
The responses from hospitals have been positive and filled with gratitude. "The first hospital that I donated to was Baptist Hospital," said Martucci. "They really liked the project. They just couldn’t believe an eighth-grader would do a project like this."
Martucci said she loves to see firsthand that her hats are being used by premature babies. "When I delivered it, I saw an actual baby wearing the hat, and it was so nice to see who actually got the hat," said Martucci. "She was so small and wrinkled and red, but she was so adorable, and when she had the hat on, she was just beautiful."
Martucci plans to continue her work throughout her high school years, as well. "I want to continue this project all the way through high school because it’s so rewarding, and it’s really just fun to make the hats."