Objectives. To investigate the bacteria and fungi contaminating toys in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) cots, the colonization rates, and factors that influence them. Methods. A cross-sectional, longitudinal bacteriologic survey of all toys in the cots of infants in an NICU. All the toys in an infant\u27s cot were cultured weekly for 4 weeks. Data were collected on the infant\u27s postnatal age, the type of cot, whether humidity was added, characteristics of the toy, and any infant infections. Results. Over the 4-week period, there were 86 cultures from 34 toys of 19 infants. Bacteria were grown from 84/86 (98%): 84 of the cultures grew coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, 50 Micrococcus sp, 21 Bacillus sp, 13 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 12 diphtheroids, 4 group B streptococcus, 3 S aureus, 3 nonhemolytic streptococci, 3 group D streptococci, 4 -hemolytic streptococci, and 2 coliforms. None grew fungi. The colonization rate did not differ with cot type, presence of humidity, size of the toy, toy fiber length, or the fluffiness score. Eight (42%) of the infants had positive blood culture results and 5/8 of the isolates (63%) were of the same type as that colonizing their corresponding toy. Implications. With time, all the toys in NICU cots became colonized with bacteria. Many were potentially pathogenic. Toys may be reservoirs for potential infantile nosocomial sepsis
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