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NFI/NIDCAP Guidance Around the COVID-19 Pandemic

The NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) holds as a primary goal the support of parents as the optimal caregivers of their infant. Parent presence and active collaboration with their hospitalized infant and the health care team, enhances the infant’s neurodevelopment.1

The NFI acknowledges it is critical to continually reflect on the balance of safety and health concerns with known best practices to support optimal outcomes as communities, healthcare systems, hospital professionals, and families with hospitalized infants navigate COVID-19. The substantial benefits of parental participation in the care of their hospitalized infants, including skin-to-skin holding and breastfeeding,2-6 are increasingly considered to outweigh the potential risks of the transmission of COVID-19.

 It is the NFI’s position based on the research available, that non-separation of parent-infant dyads and parents’ active participation in infant care are essential to mitigate sequelae for hospitalized infants during these critical periods of development.7-9  


Board of Directors
NIDCAP Federation International August 17, 2020





  1. Als, H, Duffy, FH, McAnulty, GB, Rivkin, MJ,  Vajapeyam, S, Mulkern, RV,  Warfield, SK, Huppi, PS,  Butler, SC,  Conneman, N, Fischer, C,  Eichenwald, EC. (Apr 2004). Early Experience Alters Brain Function and Structure. Pediatrics;113 (4), 846-857; DOI: 10.1542/peds.113.4.846.
  2. Lavizzari A, Klingenberg C, Profit J, Zupancic JAF, Davis AS, Mosca F, et al. (2020). International comparison of guidelines for managing neonates at the early phase of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Pediatric Research. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Vavouraki, E. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare of premature babies. European Journal of Midwifery, 4(May).
  4. Davanzo R, Moro G, Sandri F, Agosti M, Moretti C, Mosca F. (2020). Breastfeeding and Coronavirus Disease-2019. Ad interim indications of the Italian Society of Neonatology endorsed by the Union of European Neonatal & Perinatal Societies [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 3]. Maternal Child Nutrition; e13010. doi:10.1111/mcn.13010.
  5. Conde‐Agudelo A, Díaz‐Rossello JL. (2016). Kangaroo mother care to reduce morbidity and mortality in low birthweight infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Issue 8. Art. No.: CD002771. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002771.pub4.
  6. Reynolds, L., Duncan, M., Smith, G. et al. (2013). Parental presence and holding in the neonatal intensive care unit and associations with early neurobehavior. J Perinatology; 33, 636–641.
  7. Latva R, Lehtonen L, Salmelin RK, Tamminen T. (2004). Visiting Less Than Every Day: A Marker for Later Behavioral Problems in Finnish Preterm Infants. Archives Pediatric Adolesent Medicine; 158(12):1153–1157. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.12.1153.
  8. Feldman R. (2015). Sensitive periods in human social development: new insights from research on oxytocin, synchrony and high-risk parenting. Developmental Psychopathology; 27(2): 369 - 395. DOI:10.1017/S0954579415000048.
  9. World Health Organization. (‎2020)‎. Clinical management of COVID-19: interim guidance, 27 May 2020. World Health Organization License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
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