Parents quarantine twin babies for a year

The Globe and Mail

Reed and Anna Vangoethem, born premature, play in the family's home. (KMBC/KMBC.com)

It’s not unusual for new parents to be overprotective of their babies, especially ones born prematurely. But one Kansas City couple has taken precautions to the extreme.

Kyle and Laura Vangoethem have kept fraternal twins Reed and Anna under a sort of quarantine since their birth at 26 weeks late last March.

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When the tiny babies were born, they were given an 85 per cent chance of survival and kept in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. But by the end of the summer, the twins were ready to go home. Though the hospital staff reassured the Vangoethems that the infants would be fine, the parents were hesitant.

“They’re hooked up to monitors for months in the NICU and all of a sudden they hand you your baby [and say]‘Go home. Good luck,’” Mr. Vangoethem told news station KMBC.

The happy, chubby babies no longer resemble the two-pound preemies they once were, but their immune systems are still fragile. The only people allowed to see Reed and Anna so far have been immediate family, a photographer and, recently, the KMBC camera crew, which filmed video of them. A sign on the family’s front door asks visitors to remove their shoes and use hand sanitizer.

Though a mild winter has allowed their parents to take the twins on walks outside, the babies have yet to go on longer excursions. “We didn’t see Santa. We have not been to restaurants or the mall,” Ms. Vangoethem said.

The Vangoethems hope to introduce Reed and Anna to friends and extended family in June.

“We’ll say, okay, a year and a half later, come on over and meet them,” Ms. Vangoethem said with a laugh.

Is quarantining preemies for their first year of life wise or are these parents going overboard?