Determining Appropriate Sensory Exposures in the NICU: Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Joan R. Smith, Roberta G. Pineda
  • Neonatal Network The Journal of Neonatal Nursing, January 2016, Springer Publishing Company
  • DOI: 10.1891/0730-0832.35.2.63

How much sensory exposure in the NICU is too much, too little or just enough?

What is it about?

Many neonatal intensive care units (NICU) are moving towards a private room design. This article discusses the NICU environment as it relates to sensory experiences for the NICU infant. It makes the case that sensory experiences need to take into account multiple factors of the infant's environment (e.g. availability of parents, post menstrual age, current medical status etc). It argues that we need to know the correct type, timing, and duration of sensory experiences for infants in order to provide the best environment for infants in the NICU.

Why is it important?

Recently there has been a push towards moving to a private room design in the NICU. A private room design impacts the sensory experience of the NICU. This article discusses the need for further research and understanding to create the best environment for infants in the NICU.


Bobbi Pineda
Washington University School of Medicine

This article makes the argument for further research looking into the sensory environment of the NICU infant. This is an area of interest and research for Dr. Pineda.

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The following have contributed to this page: Bobbi Pineda