SINCE premature birth is the major cause of infant and neonatal mortality, many communities have set up or are in the process of planning programs designed to prevent premature birth and to provide better care for prematurely born infants.1 While from a long-range point of view prevention of premature birth will probably be the more productive aspect, nevertheless better pediatric and nursing care must be provided for those infants born prematurely in the interim. A basic objective in most of the programs is the development of "premature centers" where specialized pediatric and nursing care will be available.2 This paper, describing the desirable elements of a premature center, is based upon the experience of the New York City Department of Health in assisting hospitals to develop such centers.
FUNCTIONS OF THE PREMATURE CENTER
A premature center should perform several functions. 1. It should care for premature infants born in