Skin care practices in newborn nurseries and mother-baby units in Maryland

J Perinatol. 2017 Jun;37(6):615-621. doi: 10.1038/jp.2016.226. Epub 2016 Dec 22.


Objective: Skin provides several important homeostatic functions to the developing neonate. However, no consensus guidelines exist in the United States for skin care in the healthy term newborn.

Study design: We performed a study of skin and umbilical cord care (including bathing practices, vernix removal and antiseptic cord application) in newborn nurseries and mother-baby units throughout the state of Maryland to determine practices in a variety of clinical settings and assess if uniformity in skin care exists. These data were then assessed in the context of a review of the current literature.

Results: We received responses from over 90% of nurseries across the state. In our cohort, practices varied widely between institutions and specific populations, and often were not evidence-based or were contrary to best practices discussed in the scientific literature.

Conclusion: The frequent departures from evidence that occur regarding the aforementioned practices are likely due to a lack of consensus on these issues as well as limited data on such practices, further highlighting the need for data-driven guidelines on newborn skin care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / methods
  • Infant Care / standards*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maryland
  • Nurseries, Hospital*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Skin Care / methods
  • Skin Care / standards*
  • Umbilical Cord / microbiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local