Menu Search Donate
NICU guideline identifier

Skin disinfectants

This document is only valid for the day on which it is accessed. Please read our disclaimer.

Background

Skin care in newborn infants is important to maintain temperature control, fluid balance, and reduce the risk of infection. As newborn skin is very permeable, there is a significant risk from absorption of topical compounds.

In addition, some components of topical preparations may injure the fragile skin of preterm infants.

Remember that disinfectants provide most effective cleansing when they have dried.

Procedures

For the purposes of this guideline, the following definitions are used:

Major procedures

  • longline insertion 
  • UAC/UVC insertion 
  • chest drain insertion 
  • Urinary catheterisation 
  • other sterile surgical procedures 

Minor procedures

  • IV insertion 
  • IM injection 
  • Heel blood sampling 

Infants ≤1000g

Week 1
Major procedures Chlorhexidine 0.1% Solution 
Minor procedures Chlorhexidine 0.1% Solution 
Week 2
Major procedures Chlorhexidine 0.1% Solution 
Minor procedures Alcohol wipes (70% alcohol) 
Week 3 and beyond
Major procedures (Riotane) Chlorhexidine 0.5% in alcohol 70% 
Minor procedures Alcohol wipes (70% alcohol) 

INFANTS <1000g & <2 WEEKS AGE - if going to SSH Theatre, send Skin Prep Chlorhexidine 0.1% Solution with baby.

Infants >1000g

All ages
Major procedures (Riotane) Chlorhexidine 0.5% in alcohol 70% 
Minor procedures Alcohol wipes (70% alcohol) 

Did you find this information helpful?

Document Control

  • Date last published: 17 October 2018
  • Document type: Clinical Guideline
  • Services responsible: Neonatology
  • Owner: Newborn Services Clinical Practice Committee
  • Editor: Sarah Bellhouse
  • Review frequency: 2 years