NICU Standard 23: Furnishings
Built-in and freestanding furnishings such as cabinets and carts, especially those in the infant care areas, shall be easily cleanable with the fewest possible seams in the integral construction. Exposed surface seams shall be sealed. Furnishings shall be of durable construction to withstand impact by movable equipment without significant damage.
Interpretation: Countertops should have the fewest possible seams. Edges exposed to impact should be rounded (i.e., bull-nosed). Corners created at wall or backsplash intersections should be coved. Intersections with sinks or other devices should be sealed or made integral with the top. Casework construction should not chip or flake when struck by objects in the normal routine of infant care and should be of sufficient moisture resistance to prevent deterioration.
Furnishings in the NICU are often composite pieces, made of various parts and layers of materials that are assembled with glue or adhesives. Materials and substances typically used in these furnishings often contain VOCs such as formaldehyde, which is frequently found in pressed wood products including plywood and particle board. Vinyl-based laminates, which often are applied to the surface of pressed wood products, also contain VOCs such as PVC. Specify low- or no-VOC materials, including urea-formaldehyde-free adhesives, for all furnishings in the NICU.
Consider selecting materials that are resistant to degradation by ultraviolet light, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and other exposure elements.