Welcome to the NICU Recommended Standards


Recommended Standards for Newborn Intensive Care Unit Design 9th Edition

Report of the First Consensus Conference on Standards, Competencies and Best Practices for Infant and Family-Centered Developmental Care in the Intensive Care Unit


Inspired by the March of Dimes report Toward Improving the Outcomes of Pregnancy, several organizations formulated developmental care and hospital design guidelines.  In 1993 an open, multi-disciplinary conference on NICU design and care led to the creation of a multi-disciplinary committee of neonatologists, nurses, researchers, architects, and regulators. They convened to review current evidence on the physical environment of the NICU and this led to the First Recommended Standards of Newborn Intensive Care Unit Design.  The Consensus Committee has continued to meet and update the recommended standards and this is the 9th edition. 

The multi-disciplinary conference continued and became the Gravens Conference on the Environment of Care of the High-Risk Newborn. Out of this meeting, there was a call to develop a multi-disciplinary consensus on developmentally supportive care practices, in addition to the physical design recommendations.  

The Consensus Committee was assembled with nursing, neonatology, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, social work, speech-language, and parent support professionals. The first report of that committee is published here.

You may read the Standards by navigating the links on the left, or you may download documents below:

Call for photos!

If you have good examples in design for any of the principles discussed, please send us your photographs and a letter of permission to display them on the web site, including how to acknowledge your photograph and contact information.