The NICU shall be designed to provide an air temperature of 72°F
to 78°F (22-26° C) and a relative humidity of 30-60%, while avoiding
condensation on wall and window surfaces.
A minimum of six air changes per hour is required, with a minimum
of two changes being outside air.
The ventilation pattern shall inhibit particulate matter from
moving freely in the space, and intake and exhaust vents shall be
situated to minimize drafts on or near the infant beds. Ventilation
air delivered to the NICU shall be filtered with at least the
efficiency specified in the FGI Guidelines3 . Filters shall be
located outside the infant care area so they can be changed easily
Fresh air intake shall be located at least 25 feet (7.6 meters)
from exhaust outlets of ventilating systems, combustion equipment
stacks, medical/surgical vacuum systems, plumbing vents, or areas
that may collect vehicular exhausts or other noxious fumes.
Prevailing winds or proximity to other structures may require
Interpretation: Heat sources near the exterior
wall, if applicable, should be considered to ameliorate the "cold
wall" condition, which in turn can be a source of convection drafts.
This application of heat may also alleviate the conditions leading
to condensation on these walls.
The air flow pattern should be at low velocity and designed to
minimize drafts, noise levels, and airborne particulate matter. A
HEPA filtration system may provide improved infection control for
Because a regular maintenance program is necessary to assure that
systems continue to function as designed after occupancy, NICU
design should attempt to maximize the ease of maintenance while
minimizing its cost.