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Kangaroo Care / Skin to Skin Contact in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units During COVID-19

Rev. 7 March 29, 2020

At the moment, recommendations and evidence are for babies born to moms that are "Person Under Investigation" (PUI) or that tested positive for COVID-19.   The information below is specific for Neonatal and Pediatric intensive care units that have babies to kangaroo care.

Every hospital needs to continue to monitor the risk of COVID-19 closely and make adjustments to policies, protocols, and staff/visitor restrictions, as necessary.

Click here for more important info.

Kangaroo Care in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units During COVID-19: 

People suspected or confirmed positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) SHOULD NOT enter a neonatal or pediatric intensive care units so they cannot kangaroo care, however, they may assign someone healthy to do it.

Hospitals must set strict screens for any adult entering the unit. Parents and staff must follow the same health screens and procedures and be very careful not to enter a neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit if there is at least a suspicion of infection.  

Some hospitals are restricting entry to one parent at a time, and for kangaroo care that is all you need!!  Sessions (thus visitation) must continue to be of no less than one hour. 

This is the time to be humane with the most vulnerable and, make an effort to let them be with the only people that can provide all the benefits documented in the literature.

A non-PUI and non-COVID parent that is allowed to enter the ICU should continue to kangaroo care, however they must follow the safety recommendations below to stay healthy and have a successful session. 

Kangaroo Care is an evidence based practice for parents and babies. We cannot find any evidence that contradicts it during COVID-19. Please email or contact us if we have missed any evidence that suggests that kangaroo care is detrimental for a baby when a parent is not suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or what are the reasons to NOT allow parents to kangaroo care. 

Raylene Phillips, MD, IBCLC from California, said on March 21, 2020: "If a parent of a baby in the NICU has a fever or upper respiratory symptoms, they should not even be in the hospital. If they have no symptoms of illness, skin-to-skin holding is just as important as it ever was."  


Parents that have the green light to enter the intensive care unit and that are allowed to kangaroo care, must follow safety and infection control protocols from the hospital, and may include:

  • Kangaroo Care as long as possible and stay by your baby’s bedside (i.e., pumping, breastfeeding, reading, etc.),
  • Practice respiratory hygiene during kangaroo care.  Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect yourself, your baby, and the people around you from viruses such as cold, RSV, flu and COVID-19.
  •  wear a mask where available;
  • Wash/scrub hands often, especially before and after touching your baby, breastfeeding, and kangaroo care;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces you have touched.
  • Keep 6ft of separation with others whenever possible. 

 Here are the newly released IFCDC- Recommendations for Skin-to-Skin Contact with Intimate Family Members. Note that parents should not nap during kangaroo care unless they have a Kangaroo Care Device (wrap) that safely supports this practice. (See Competency 1.10)

We welcome questions, comments, suggestions for revisions, etc. Email us at or comment below. 

The 9th Kangaroo Care Day is on May 15, 2020  
Click here to join Kangaroo Care Day's mailing list for updates

 Wash Your Hands ----- Cover Your Cough ------ Practice Social Distancing

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Comments (4)

Shashi N Vani

Very useful and relevant information Thank you very much

Susie Johnsen

Thank you! This information is vital to remain fierce advocates for such a vulnerable population and their families.

Azad Chowdhury

Thanks a lot for Updating.Hope
KMC is not hampered by COVID 19.

Leslie Wolff

You have prepared for us brilliant guildlines for this extremely important matter. Thank you!

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