Urine collection (infants)

Urine collection is a noninvasive method of obtaining a urine sample from an infant.

How the test is performed

Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a Urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on the infant. For males, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For females, the bag is placed over the labia. Place a diaper securely over the bag. Check your baby frequently 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, causing an inability to obtain the specimen. In children under age 3, the discovery of a urinary tract infection is very important, as it may indicate the presence of some anatomical abnormalities. In these cases, a catheterized urine sample is preferred because of greater accuracy. The urine is drained into a container for transport back to the health care provider.

How to prepare for the test
There is no preparation for the test. If collection is to be performed at home, a couple of extra collection bags may be needed.

How the test will feel
There is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed
The test is performed to obtain 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 abnormal results mean
Not applicable.

What the risks are
There are essentially no risks. Rarely, the infant may develop a mild skin rash from the adhesive on the collection bag. Furthermore, bag urine specimens are generally not ideal for urine cultures because they are frequently contaminated.

Special considerations

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

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 2, 2012
by Arthur A. Poghosian, M.D.

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