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Collecting a urine sample from your baby

Babies and small children cannot wee ‘on demand’, which makes it difficult to get a sample.

Urine samples need to be collected for urine tests. Urine tests may be done for a number of reasons and they are the only way to know for sure if your child has a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

If the reason for the urine test is to determine if your child has a UTI, it is very important that the urine is obtained from your child in a sterile (clean) way so that the sample is not contaminated with bacteria (germs) from the skin.

Clean-catch

This method involves trying to catch some urine in a urine sample container that is provided.  If you have not been given one, please ask at your family doctor (GP) surgery.

The container does not need to be completely full – usually a small sample is enough for testing.

Start by offering your child a drink (cup, bottle, breastfeed). Most children who are going to wee for a clean-catch will do so within one hour.

  • Have the urine sample container ready.
  • Remove your child’s nappy.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before collecting the sample or wear gloves.
  • Clean the skin around the genital area; use cotton wool pads soaked in cooled boiled water or use baby wipes (Figure 1).
  • Keep watching until your child does a wee. Be ready to catch a urine sample in the container when the wee comes.
  • To encourage your child to wee, you can gently rub their lower abdomen (tummy) for a few minutes using a clean cotton pad or baby wipe soaked in cold water (Figure 2).
  • Hold the container away from your child’s skin when catching the urine (Figure 3). This is important so that bacteria from your child’s skin (or your skin) does not contaminate the urine sample.
  • Place the lid securely on the container. Write your child’s name, date of birth and the date and time the urine sample was taken.

Figure 1 – clean

 

collecting a urine sample from an infant - fig 2

Figure 2 – rub

 

Collecting a urine sample from an infant - figure 3

Figure 3 – catch

Collecting and storage of urine before attending an outpatient appointment

You should collect the urine sample a couple of hours before attending clinic unless you are instructed otherwise.  If the urine sample has been collected more than four hours before attending clinic, please store in the fridge at 4-8°C between collection and hospital visit.