All family and friends of NICU patients will be issued a temporary badge when entering Arkansas Children's. When you come to the NICU for the first time, you will stop at the NICU reception desk to check in. All parents, guardians, grandparents and designated family or friends will receive a badge specific to NICU. A picture ID will need to be presented to issue a badge. The receptionist will issue each person a NICU badge. This is the badge you will need to enter the NICU while your baby is a patient here. When you come to the NICU for the first time a staff member will give you an orientation of the NICU and review the NICU Family & Friends Guidelines.

When your baby first arrives in the NICU, visitation may be limited while the staff examine your baby and perform certain tests. The parents, grandparents, and your designated family and friends will be able to see your baby as soon as possible.

NICU Visitor Policy

  • 2 parents/primary caregivers may be present 24 hours/day. All other designated visitors may visit between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • All those arriving in the NICU are required to complete a health assessment, provide a photo ID and obtain a visitor badge, in order to visit.
  • Parents may choose up to 4 visitors,18 years of age or older, plus any grandparents they choose, to add to the visitor list. This list will remain the same throughout the hospital stay. These designated visitors may visit without the parents being present. Please note, they may receive general information about your baby, while at the bedside.
  • All other visitors must be accompanied by a parent or primary caregiver. caregiver.
  • Parents may bring siblings 2 years old and older, as well as twin siblings of the patient. Each sibling will meet with a Child Life Specialist before their first visit and complete a health screening with each visit.
  • Only 2 people at a time will be allowed at the patient's bedside.
  • Given the increased risk of infection to babies in the NICU, visitors will be asked not to visit, if they have had any nausea, vomiting, fever, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, or any other symptoms of illness within the last 24 hours.

Required Badges

The badge must be worn at all times. All other guests will be given a temporary NICU badge when they visit and must be with a parent or guardian to enter the NICU.

Visiting Times

There is no restricted visiting for parents or guardians. You are encouraged to spend as much time with your child as possible during their entire hospital stay. Grandparents, designated family and friends may visit during general hospital visiting hours from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Exceptions are made for new admissions to the NICU.

Parent Expectations

Family and friends are invited to be present during nursing shift changes. Please be aware that your baby's nurse may not be able to address all of your questions during that busy time. We also invite parents to participate during the daytime rounds of the medical team, which can occur at different times throughout the day. Please let your baby's nurse know if you would like to be present for rounds so that you may be contacted.

Visiting certain areas of the NICU may be restricted for short periods of time due to surgical procedures being performed in that area.

Visitor Restrictions During Flu Season

During Flu Season, for the protection of your baby, no one under the age of 16 (unless a parent) will be permitted into the NICU. This policy is in place to protect the NICU babies from catching cold/flu bugs and causing life-threatening diseases. Flu Season starts in the fall and ends in the spring. Flu Season dates vary from year to year and are determined by Infection Control. Signs will be posted to advise family and friends when Flu season starts.

Family House

The NICU Family House is on the 3rd Floor of the South Wing just inside the NICU. A Family service representative is available from 8:00 am to 9:30 pm to assist with overnight accommodations, as well as reservations for Ronald McDonald House. Parents are encouraged to use the waiting room for rest. Two parents or guardians will be allowed to remain in the waiting room overnight. Children are not allowed to stay overnight. The NICU Family House is equipped with chair beds, lockers, and showers for your use. As space permits, a maximum of two sleeping spaces is available to parents, guardians, and grandparents. A kitchenette area and laundry facility are also available inside the NICU Family House.

The private rooms in South are able to accommodate the baby and 2 other family members. Only two people are allowed to stay overnight. No children are allowed to stay overnight in the NICU private rooms. A private room has a private shower and bathroom.

Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House is available at the Arkansas Children's for the parents of the NICU patients who live over 50 miles away. Ask the Family Services Assistant in the NICU Family House to place your name on the waiting list. The Family Services Assistant can also help you arrange other lodgings. Many local hotels offer a discount to parents of babies in the NICU.

The patients in the NICU have very little ability to fight infection. Therefore, we are very careful about protecting them from exposure. All parents, grandparents, family and friends are asked to wash their hands and arms (to the elbow). Sinks are located at the entrance to the NICU and in the area where your baby is located. For infection control and privacy issues, you, your family members and guests should remain at your baby's bedside and not visit other babies in the NICU.
Toys are welcome at your baby's bedside, but please limit them to two at a time, please. Also, the toys must be able to be wiped clean, therefore no stuffed animals. For safety reasons, rubber balloons are not allowed. Socks, booties, hats, two Mylar balloons, drawings from siblings, cards and photographs are welcome. Please be aware that while every attempt is made to protect personal items, they may be lost or broken. Heirlooms and breakable items are discouraged. Names should be written with a permanent marker on personal items and clothing. Parents must wash infant's personal clothing.
When you contact the hospital for the first time, you will be asked to select a "code word" to be used by PARENTS ONLY for information over the phone. Please do not share this word with grandparents or friends. Due to privacy laws, they should get information from you. A toll-free number is available for parents only. Parents only may receive phone calls in the waiting room (501-364-7025). Family members may leave messages for parents at this number as the unit secretary cannot take personal messages.
Cell phones are permitted with the ringer on vibrate or silence. Please clean your cell phones with antibacterial wipes provided in the Family House. Please step out of the NICU for long phone conversations. We ask that you do not use your phone for talking or texting while holding your baby. We encourage you to take photos of your baby (taking photos of other babies is not allowed). Phones located in the NICU are for staff use only. There are phones available in the NICU Family House.