The effectiveness of phototherapy is determined largely by the distance between the lamps and the infant, so phototherapy can easily be intensified by bringing the lamps closer to the infant. Because a closed isolette does not allow the lamps to be moved in close, if there is a concern about the effectiveness of phototherapy, an isolette should not be used.
With the infant in an open bassinet, it is possible to bring the lamps to within 10 cm of the infant. An undressed term infant with not be overheated with this arrangement, however, is is important that halogen spotlights NOT be used. Halogen lights can get hot, and burns may result if used this way. Special blue, regular blue, and cool white lights are all acceptable alternatives.
Increasing the skin surface area exposed to phototherapy will also maximize treatment. Commonly, an overhead phototherapy unit is combined with a bili blanket that can be place under the infant. Some of these blankets or pads are rather small, so 2 or 3 of these units may be needed to supply more complete coverage from below. Lining the sides of the bassinet with white blankets or aluminum foil can also increase the effectiveness of phototherapy.