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Report of the Eighth Census Conference on Newborn ICU Design
Committee to Establish Recommended Standards for Newborn ICU Design
Robert D. White, MD, Chair
January 26, 2012 Clearwater Beach, FL
   September 18, 2012
Standard 25 - Daylighting

At least one source of natural daylight shall be visible from an infant space or room, either from an exterior window or exterior clerestory located at each infant space or in each room, or from an exterior window or exterior clerestory in the staff work area adjacent to the infant space or room. When provided, exterior window(s) located at an infant space or in a room shall be glazed with insulating glass to minimize heat gain or loss, and shall be situated at least 2 feet (0.6 meter) away from any part of an infant's bed to minimize radiant heat gain or loss. All external windows shall be equipped with shading devices that are neutral color to minimize color distortion from transmitted light.

The provision of daylight and windows shall be guided by the recommendations outlined in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Healthcare12; IEQ Credit 8:1 Daylight and Views, except in cases where the provision of daylight and windows interferes with the recommendations provided elsewhere in this document.

Interpretation: Windows provide an important psychological benefit to staff and families in the NICU. Properly designed daylighting is the most desirable illumination for nearly all caregiving tasks, including charting and evaluation of infant skin tone.

However, placing infants too close to external windows can cause problems with radiant heat loss or gain and glare, so provision of windows in the NICU requires careful planning and design.

Shading devices should be easily controlled to allow flexibility at various times of day, and should either be contained within the window or easily cleanable. These should be designed to avoid direct sunlight from striking the infant, IV fluids, or monitor screens.


Additional Information
last updated September 19, 2012  Kathleen Kolberg, University of Notre Dame