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Arch Pediatr. 2013 Feb;20(2):137-45. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2012.11.008. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

[Development and assessment of a sensory-motor scale for the neonate: a clinical tool at the bedside].

[Article in French]

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Département de l'enfant et de l'adolescent, hôpitaux universitaires de Genève, Genève, Suisse.



Improved perinatal care has increased the survival of newborns. However, neonatal intensive care is a source of nociceptive stimuli that may have a negative long-term impact on the child's neurobehavioral development. During the period of maximal brain plasticity, supportive developmental care can therefore be beneficial. The purpose of this study was to develop an assessment tool of neonatal behavior for daily use by healthcare providers and validate its content.


A behavioral assessment tool starting off with 45 clinical variables in 6 areas of sensory-motor behavior was validated in two stages using footage of babies between 25 and 37 weeks gestational age. The intraclass correlation coefficient of 65 evaluations allowed simplification of the tool down to 23 variables, prior to a final analysis of validity and reliability.


For the 23 variables, the reliability between observers was low for 7 (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]<0.4), fair for 4 (ICC 0.4-0.5) and good for 12 (ICC>0.5). The agreement between novice and expert observers ranged from 46.7% to 98.7%. Twenty variables had a level of agreement above 60%.


This validation study of a newborn sensory-motor behavior assessment scale has identified pertinent variables for a structured assessment by healthcare providers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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