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Infection Prevention and Control

Infection Control is a hospital-wide program at Mount Sinai that minimizes the risk of infection to patients, staff and visitors.

Prevention of infections in the low birth weight infant requires all staff, families and visitors to pay special attention to patient care practices and to employ health standards. Below is important information for you and your family to help prevent infections.

Hand Hygiene

Hand washing is the most important part of hand hygiene and is something we can all do to prevent infection from spreading. Before you enter the nursery, please wash your hands thoroughly with the soap and water in the dispenser at the sink. Wash every part of your hands – the front, back, between the fingers and your thumbs. Make sure your nails and nail beds are clean. Wash a little above your wrists and point your hands downward toward the sink so the germs can run off into the sink. Once you start washing your hands, continue for at least 15 seconds. Rinse off all the soap and dry your hands well.

Always clean your hands with alcohol based hand rub or soap and water:

  • Before and after you touch your baby (and between babies, if you have more than one.) Please avoid touching any other baby in the nursery.
  • After touching any area of your body that has a lot of germs – your nose, or mouth, head and hair, and after going to the bathroom.
  • When you leave the nursery for a break, wash your hands each time you come back. Avoid handling your baby if you have a rash or open sores on your hands.
  • Moisturize hands after leaving baby’s environment and as often as possible to prevent irritation of the skin.
  • Artificial nails are not recommended as they are a reservoir for bacteria and are very difficult to keep clean. 


Screening for Infection

In order to protect your baby, we need ongoing information about your exposure to common health problems. You will be asked some questions by the nursing staff about fevers, rashes or flu, etc.

If you or anyone who has visited your baby experience any of the following, please avoid coming to see your baby, and phone the NICU immediately:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Itchy eyes

Chicken Pox or Measles

Please let us know if:

  • you have been in contact with someone who has chicken pox or measles.
  • you have been in contact with someone who developed those conditions within a week of seeing them.
  • if you or another visitor has developed the condition within one week of a visit to the NICU.


We will consult with the Infection Control Department and a decision will be made regarding your access to the NICU to see your baby.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a virus affecting the lungs. When you catch RSV, it is like having a cold or flu with a runny nose, cough and fever. Most babies will catch colds caused by RSV before they are 3-years old.


Sterile Procedures

Sterile procedures icon

While in the NICU your baby may have different types of procedures.  When you see this sign on your baby's door, it means there is a sterile procedure in progress.   Please do not enter the room at this time. You should seek information from another staff member or ask for information at the reception desk before you enter the room.