Recognizing the Differences of NICU and PICU

In addition to adults, there are also special care facilities for infants and children in hospitals. Two of these facilities are NICU ( Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ) and PICU ( Pediatric Intensive Care Unit ). What are the differences between NICU and PICU?

Both types of health facilities are intended for infants and children with critical conditions who require intensive care. To find out more about the differences between NICU and PICU and their functions, see the following explanation.

Difference between NICU and PICU

Although at first glance it looks similar, NICU and PICU actually have the following differences:


NICU is an intensive care unit provided specifically for newborns with critical conditions or have severe health problems. The age range of patients treated in the NICU room is newborns to 28 days old babies.
Some conditions that make babies need care at the NICU are babies born prematurely , have severe congenital defects , experience respiratory failure, have severe infections (sepsis), suffer from dehydration, or experience severe bleeding.
The NICU room is equipped with various medical equipment to handle critical conditions, including :

  • Breathing apparatus
    In the NICU room there are various breathing aids, such as oxygen cylinders, hose or oxygen masks, and ventilator machines. This equipment is used to help babies who have difficulty breathing or cannot breathe at all. In treating babies with severe respiratory problems, doctors often need to do an intubation to attach a breathing hose which will then be connected to the ventilator machine, to help the baby breathe.
  • Baby warmer machine ( infant warmer )
    Newborns, especially premature babies, have less fat tissue and are at risk for cold or hypothermia . Therefore, a baby warmer is needed so that his body temperature remains warm.
  • Incubator
    The incubator is a tool in the form of a special box for babies with thick plastic walls and transparent which has a temperature regulator to prevent the baby from getting cold. This tool also functions to protect the baby from infection.
  • Monitor vital signs
    In the NICU room there is a monitor to monitor the baby's vital signs, which include oxygen levels in the blood, respiratory rate, heart rate, body temperature, and baby's blood pressure. The NICU room is also equipped with a variety of other tools needed to support infant health, such as tools for phototherapy and food hoses that will be attached to the baby's nose or mouth for breastfeeding or formula milk.

PICU ( Pediatric Intensive Care Unit )

Unlike the NICU which is intended specifically for newborns up to the age of 28 days, PICU is specifically for infants over the age of 1 month and children aged 1 to 18 years with critical conditions.
Severe and potentially fatal conditions in older infants and children who need treatment in PICU include severe asthma, severe dehydration , bleeding due to severe injury or accident, sepsis , organ failure, poisoning , and meningitis .
Babies and children who have just undergone major surgery also usually need to be treated for some time in the PICU room.
Similar to the NICU, the PICU room is also equipped with various medical equipment to monitor and care for the condition of critical infants and children, ranging from incubators, phototherapy devices, ventilator machines, oxygen tubes, to child-specific heart shock devices.

Care in NICU and PICU money

Besides being equipped with various medical equipment, the PICU and NICU rooms are also equipped with various emergency medicines, such as dobutamine and epinephrine , which at any time can be needed if the patient's condition is increasingly critical.
While being treated in this intensive room, babies and children with critical conditions will be closely monitored and evaluated by a medical team consisting of general practitioners , pediatricians and nurses.
In this intensive room, parents can accompany a sick child, but the number of other visitors and visiting times will be limited. The aim is to create a calm and comfortable atmosphere for patients, and to prevent patients from getting infections.
The principle of handling critical baby and child patients in this intensive room is actually not much different. The difference between NICU and PICU lies in the age group of patients, which will certainly affect the type and size of the devices in it.

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