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The Participation Rights of Premature Babies

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Chapter Summary

Is it appropriate or useful to phrase premature babies' needs, welfare, or best interests in the language of babies' rights? Can babies be rights-holders? This chapter reviews the relevance of the UN 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and particularly the participation rights, to premature babies and their care. The review is illustrated with examples drawn from a study of four neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The chapter presents the background on human and children's rights, on research about childhood, babies and participation, and on the neonatal research study. Examples from the study illustrate how participation rights relate to premature babies. The chapter concludes that respect for babies' participation rights is feasible immediate, integral and indispensable to adequate neonatal care, and that babies' rights justify and validate high standards of care.

Keywords: children's rights; neonatal intensive care units (NICU); participation rights; premature babies; UNCRC



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