Ambient lighting levels in infant spaces shall be adjustable
through a range of at least 10 to no more than 600 lux
(approximately 1 to 60 foot candles), as measured on a horizontal
plane at each bedside. Both natural and electric light sources shall
have controls that allow immediate darkening of any bed position
sufficient for transillumination when necessary.
Electric light sources shall have a color rendering index
(CRI)8 of no less than 80, and a gamut area index
(GAI)9 of no less than 80 and no greater than 100. The
optical reflectors in the luminaires (light fixture) shall have a
neutral finish so that the color rendering properties of the light
source are maintained. The sources shall avoid unnecessary
ultraviolet or infrared radiation by the use of appropriate lamps,
lens, or filters5.
No direct view of the electric light source or sun shall be
permitted in the infant space (as described in Standard 5): this
does not exclude direct procedure lighting, as described in Standard
23. Any lighting used outside the infant care area shall be located
so as to avoid any infant's direct line of sight to the fixture.
The electric light sources that are supplied by 60 Hz alternating
current shall not flicker more than a common 40 W incandescent light
source. Specifically, the frequency and the depth of the light
modulation produced by the source shall be no less than 120 Hz and
no more than 13%, respectively10.
Lighting fixtures shall be easily cleaned.
Interpretation: Substantial flexibility in
lighting levels is required by this standard so that the disparate
needs of infants at various stages of development and at various
times of day can be accommodated, as well as the needs of
caregivers. In very preterm infants, there has been no demonstrable
benefit to exposure to light. After 28 weeks gestation, there is
some evidence that diurnally-cycled lighting has potential benefit
to the infant11. Caregivers benefit from moderate levels of ambient
light in order to perform tasks and maintain wakefulness.
Control of illumination should be accessible to staff and
families, and capable of adjustment across the recommended range of
lighting levels. Use of multiple light switches to allow different
levels of illumination is one method helpful in this regard, but can
pose serious difficulties when rapid darkening of the room is
required to permit transillumination, so a master switch should also
Perception of skin tones is critical in the NICU; light sources
that meet the CRI and GA values identified above provide accurate
skin-tone recognition. Light sources should be as free as possible
of glare or veiling reflections. When the light sources to be used
are linear fluorescent lamps, these color criteria can be met by
using lamps that carry the color designation