NICU Standard 5: Safety/Infant Security

The NICU shall be designed as part of an overall security program to protect the physical safety of infants, families and staff in the NICU. The NICU shall be designed to minimize the risk of infant abduction.

Interpretation:  Because facility design significantly affects security, it should be a priority in the planning for renovation of an existing unit or a new unit. Care should be taken to limit the number of exits and entrances to the unit.

Control station(s) should be located within close proximity and direct visibility of the entrance to the infant care area. The control point should be situated so that all visitors must walk past the station to enter the unit. The need for security should be balanced with the needs for comfort and privacy of families and their infants.

Technological devices can be utilized in flexible and innovative manners within the design of the multiple-bed or single infant room NICU schematic.  Such technology, when utilized in conjunction with the thoughtful planning of the traffic patterns to/from and within the NICU space, support areas and family space, can facilitate a safe, yet open family-friendly area.

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