Antiseptics not needed for cord care in developed nations

December 22, 2016

(HealthDay)—Dry cord care is noninferior to the use of antiseptics in preventing omphalitis in full-term newborns in France, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in Pediatrics.

Christèle Gras-Le Guen, M.D., Ph.D., from the Universitaire de Nantes in France, and colleagues randomly assigned six French university maternity units, including all infants born after 36 weeks' gestation, to provide either their usual care or a dry care umbilical cord method for a four-month period, and then units switched to the alternate cord cleansing method for a four-month period.

The researchers found that omphalitis occurred in three of 4,293 (0.07 percent) newborns in the dry care group and in none of the 4,404 in the antiseptic care group. There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to late neonatal infection, parental appreciation of difficulty in care, and time to separation of the cord.

"Antiseptic use in umbilical cord care is therefore unnecessary, constraining, and expensive in and may be replaced by dry care," the authors write.

Explore further: Umbilical cord antiseptic not effective in reducing infant deaths in Africa

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