Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Adrianne Montgomery


Since the evolution of 'open' cord care in 1974, the umbilical cord of the newborn has been treated prophylactically with many different forms of antibacterial solutions. Recent studies have demonstrated that cord separation is facilitated by bacteria and many of the current treatments, such as the use of alcohol, actually delay separation. The purpose of this study was to compare cleaning the cord with alcohol to dry cord care, a method of cord care which is now being considered as an acceptable alternative to prophylactic umbilical cord treatment. A convenience sample of 205 babies was taken from a small private maternity unit. A 2 x 2 factorial design was utilized to assess the effect of the independent variables of cord care and clamp removal time, on the dependent variable of cord separation time. In this study dry cord care was compared to the current practice of applying alcohol to the cord, and clamp removal times of 24 hours and 60 hours were considered. A 2 x 2 ANOVA indicated that significantly later mean cord separation times were associated with the use of alcohol on the cord. Variations of cord clamp removal times had no significant effect on the mean cord separation times. Objective data collected on cord appearance indicated that cords treated with dry cord Care were more often reported as being moist or sticky.