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Urine collection - infants

 

Definition

Urine collection is a method of getting a urine sample from an infant for testing purposes. It can be done at home.

How the test is performed

Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. If your health care provider gave you cleansing wipes, use these to clean the infant. Clean from the front to the back on a female infant, and from the tip of the penis down on a male infant.

Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on the infant. For males, place the entire penis in the bag and attach the adhesive to the skin. For females, place the bag over the labia.

Put a diaper securely over the bag. Check your baby often and remove the bag after the infant has urinated into it. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can displace the bag.

Drain the urine into a container to take it back to the health care provider.

How to prepare for the test

There is no preparation for the test. If you collect the urine at home, you might need a couple of extra collection bags.

How the test will feel

There is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed

The test is performed to get a urine specimen from an infant.

Normal Values

Normal values depend on what tests will be performed on the urine after it is collected.

What the risks are

There aren't really any risks. Rarely, the infant might get a mild skin rash from the adhesive on the collection bag. Bag urine specimens aren't best for urine cultures because they can become contaminated.

Special considerations

Try to return the specimen to the health care provider as soon as possible.

In children under age 3, the discovery of a urinary tract infection is very important, as it may be a sign of a problem with the structure of the urinary tract. However, even with proper cleansing, collecting urine with a bag is not recommended for evaluation of urinary tract infections. There is a high likelihood of contamination with bacteria from the skin and (in girls) the vagina. In these cases, a catheterized urine sample is better because it is more accurate.


Review Date: 8/15/2007
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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