The risk of infection from toys in the intensive care setting
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The risk of infection from toys in the intensive care setting

Jacqueline Randle Associate professor, Postgraduate Division of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Nottingham
Kathleen Fleming Infection control nurse educator, Queen’s Medical Centre, University Hospital Nottingham

The risk of cross-transmission of infection for patients in intensive care is substantial. The increasing use of new technologies and invasive procedures increases the risk of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection. The routine and effective disinfection of toys, unlike other equipment, is often overlooked and research into toys as a potential source of infection is sparse. A small-scale study measured the prevalence of micro-organisms on toys in the intensive care setting. It was conducted in a paediatric intensive care unit (ICU) at a large teaching hospital but the results will have resonance with adult ICUs. The study involved swabbing toys that had been brought in by families and those that were provided by the hospital. Recommendations for future practice are identified to ensure that toys can still be made available in hospital and are safe in relation to the transmission of infection.

Nursing Standard. 20, 40, 50-54. doi: 10.7748/ns2006.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review