Infection Control

It is important to practice good hygiene in the neonatal unit (NNU). Premature babies have underdeveloped immune systems and can easily pick up infections

Hand Hygiene

Infections are easily transmitted by hands:

  • It is essential that every time you visit the NNU, you wash your hands prior to approaching your baby
  • You will be given a hand-washing demonstration on admission to the NNU by a member of staff.  This ensures that everyone inside the unit has the same understanding as to the standard of hand-hygiene required in the unit
  • If you are visiting twins, please ensure that you wash your hands before you handle each baby

Hand-washing stations are located at every entrance to the unit, as well as at strategic locations throughout the NNU.  Follow the instructions given to you during your hand-washing demonstration. To wash your hands properly, complete the following steps:

  • Roll up your sleeves
  • Remove watch, rings, and any other jewellery (with the exception of wedding bands)
  • Wash your hands and lower arms (up to your elbow) with warm soapy water
  • Rinse your hands and lower arm with clean running water
  • Dry with a clean towel/paper tissues.

Parents must wash their hands for 40 to 60 seconds, using 1 to 2 shots of soap and warm water before entering the unit.

In addition, there are alcohol gel dispensers at the foot of each cot/incubator.  Please use the alcohol gel between interactions with your baby.  Continue to rub your hands for 20 seconds or until dry.

Infection Prevention Policies in the NNU

  • No painted or artificial fingernails
  • Short sleeves shirts/tops are preferred.  If wearing a long sleeve shirt/top, roll-up the sleeves to the elbow before hand-washing and keep them rolled up while in the unit.
  • There is no dress code in the NNU, but neat appearance is appreciated by both parents and staff
  • If you are using your mobile phone to take photographs of your baby, please clean it with a disposable detergent wipe before and after use


  • You have been in contact with a contagious disease.
  • You are suffering from the flu, a cold or fever, or if you are ill in any way

If you are ill, speak to the unit’s manager.  The medical staff acknowledge that you are an essential component of your baby’s development, and understand that the thought of staying away from your baby may seem unbearable.

However, if it is decided that it is in your baby’s best interest, as well as your own, for you to stay away from the unit, please use this time to rest and recover.  There will always be someone at the end of the phone to update you on your baby’s progress.

It may also be decided that you can be in the unit, with a mask to wear.

Getting Started in the NICU

Things to know about the Neonatal Unit

Infection Control

Ways to avoid the spreading of infection

What To Bring to the NICU

Things you and your baby may need in the NICU