Music used to help treat babies - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Music used to help treat babies

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Many of us turn to music to help celebrate, mourn or even soothe.

The same can be said at St. Petersburg's All-Children's Hospital, where music is now being used to help treat some of the hospital's tiniest patients.

Kelly Tyrrell serves as one of All-Children's Hospital's certified music therapists.

"It's a little bit of psychology, a little bit of nursing. We have to take anatomy courses. It's a little bit of music education," she said.

Her craft goes far beyond nursery rhymes. Tyrrell adjusts her volume and pace to match the vitals of each Neonatal Unit patient.

"They can actually entrain in it and focus on it and it grounds them because it's repetitive and rhythmic," Tyrrell explained. "They focus on that, and with that, they start to relax more. Their heart rate decreases; their breathing becomes more normal."

Song becomes science as a baby's heartbeat goes from manic to mild.

"It's almost like a distraction, like focus on this instead," Tyrrell said.

She's known at All-Children's Hospital as the baby whisperer.

"You can really see them; you can almost feel their bodies relax as she's singing," Neonatal Unit registered nurse Betsy Adams said.

Tyrrell knows her job is done when cries are replaced by silence.

"I want them to be comfortable. They're little babies. They're supposed to be happy," she said.

The majority of the babies in music therapy at All Children's Hospital are either premature or were born with drug addictions. Tyrrell teaches parents about the power of music before each of her tiny patients head home.

This story originally appeared on

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