GMA

New Clear Face Masks Are Allowing Children In NICU To Connect With Parents

Now more than ever, clever innovations are driving the world forward and creating solutions for problems we never thought we'd have. See how this creation helped parents bond with their daughter, providing brightness in such a turbulent time.

With COVID-19 still rampant, many of us already have enough on our plate.

Unsplash | freestocks

But for Aria Mason-Folse and her husband Henri, they had a baby on the way as well, which only added to the stress.

It didn't help when Aria began showing symptoms preeclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy complication.

Unsplash | Christian Bowen

She ended up giving birth to her daughter, Amara, prematurely, with Amara weighing only one pound, eight ounces at the time.

She was rushed away to the neonatal intensive care unit at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans, where she would be staying for quite some time during her journey to recovery.

Though they were able to visit, albeit one at a time, Aria and Henri had concerns.

Unsplash | Aditya Romansa

They could only visit with masks on, and they became concerned that their daughter not being able to see half their face would result in complications regarding her development of social cues and non-verbal communication skills.

A speech therapist at the hospital presented a solution for their worries.

Ochsner Baptist

"A team at the hospital was working on creating clear masks for people who work with deaf patients," said Aria. "We thought it would be a great way to solve our problem."

The two parents immediately saw improvements, and many of their worries vanished.

Ochsner Baptist

"You can see her watching our mouths, especially when I was singing to her. She likes the silly faces we make too," Aria said. "I feel excited by that, that she is responding so well to it. It's really reassuring that we made the right decision."

"The time with each other bonding as parents and with her — you can only describe that as a blessing."

The hospital is planning on producing more of this design, with good reason!

Ochsner Baptist

Aimee Quirk, CEO of innovationOchsner, the team that created the clear mask, said the mask was originally for staff working with hearing impaired patients, but they've found that the uses reach far beyond that. From those in Aria and Henri's positions, to those with special needs or dementia.

"It allows for connection at a time when it's hard to do," Quirk said. "Seeing a person smile, it makes a big difference to somebody's day [...]."

h/t: ABC News