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One of the most important things you can do for your baby is practice careful hand hygiene. This simple task is a key factor in keeping your baby healthy. Babies in the NICU are more at risk for serious infections. Their germ-fighting defenses are not as developed; their body may be more stressed from other illnesses and they may be exposed to invasive procedures such as IV lines.

Hand Washing Guidelines
Handwash with soap and water for 40-60 seconds. Your baby’s nurse will be happy to demonstrate!

  • Wet hands with water
  • Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces
  • Rub hands palm to palm
  • Continue washing all surfaces including interlaced fingers, the backs of hands and thumbs.
  • Rinse hands with water
  • Dry thoroughly with a single use towel
  • Use towel to turn off faucet
  • Hands are now safe

When should you use soap and water?

  • Upon first entering the NICU
  • Whenever your hands are visibly soiled

Hand Rubbing Guidelines
Hand rub with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 20-30 seconds.

  • Apply a palmful of the hand sanitizer in a cupped hand
  • Rub hands palm to palm
  • Continue to rub gel over all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, interlaced fingers and around your thumbs
  • Continue rubbing until the gel dries
  • Once dry, your hands are safe

When should you use hand gel?

  • If you touch items (like a purse, pen or cell phone) that aren’t part of your baby’s care environment
  • If you touch your nose or hair
  • After you change your baby’s diaper
  • Upon leaving the NICU
  • Upon re-entering the NICU

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.-According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).