Purpose: To describe the skin-surface pressure distributions and points of maximal pressure that are generated by healthy premature infants in the supine, prone, and right side-lying positions.
Design: A descriptive, repeated-measures design.
Sample: Four medically stable premature infants of 34 weeks postconceptional age. The mean weight was 2,180 gm, and the mean age was 24.5 days.
Results: Similar regions of increased skin-surface pressures were identified for the four infants. Within areas of peak pressure, some sensor cells reached 28-32 millimeters of mercury, which is considered to be the critical compressive pressure for obstruction of nutritive flow to the underlying body tissues. These descriptive results may be a starting point for development of research studies to determine positioning strategies to optimize the skin integrity of premature infants while minimizing unnecessary handling.