A Leap Day Baby Boom at South Shore Hospital

A woman and a man in a hospital room with two little girls and a baby
Patty and Shawn Williams of Scituate introduce daughters, Camilla "Millie," 2, (left) and Gloria, 5, to their new baby sister, Valerie Rose. Valerie was one of 13 Leap Day babies born at South Shore Hospital.

It may be the rarest day of the year to have a birthday, but don’t tell that to the 13 Leap Day babies born February 29 at South Shore Hospital, including Patty and Shawn William’s third child, Valerie Rose.

“It’s pretty cool,” Patty said of Valerie’s special birthday. “It’s a unique thing she’ll always have about her.” 

Known as “leaplings” or “leapers,” people born on Leap Day, Feb. 29 only have their actual birthday roll around once every four years. Some celebrate the day annually on Feb. 28, others choose March 1.

“We’ll celebrate on March 1,” Patty said, “because it’s closer to St. Patrick’s Day and we’re Irish and this is a lucky thing.” 


A woman holding a newborn on a bed with her husband
Patty and Shawn Williams of Scituate hold their new daughter, Valerie Rose, born on Leap Day, Feb. 29 at South Shore Hospital.

Here are five more fun facts about lucky leaplings:

  • The chance of being born on February 29 is 1 in 1,461.
  • Less than .1% of the world’s population has a Leap Day birthday.
  • It’s estimated that there are about 5 million leaplings worldwide.
  • According to the Social Security Administration, about 362,900 people in the U.S. have a Feb. 29 birthday.  
  • Of the approximately eight billion people on earth, an estimated five million share a Leap Day birthday.