Urine culture and urine collection in children

Most common infection for babies are upper respiratory tract infections (URI or URTI) and urinary tract infections (UTI). Urinary tract infections are common for boys in first 6 months from birth but after 6 months old, this condition is reversed and UTI commonly seen in girls. In these first months babies must have regular medical examinations by a pediatrician ( child doctor) and some laboratory tests may be done if needed. Your doctor would recommend to have urinalysis  and urine culture if your child has UTI symptoms.

If there is an urinary tract infection in your baby, treatment must be started immediately to prevent kidney damage. Kidney damage may cause hypertension so if an urinary tract infection is thought in your baby it must be diagnosed with urinalysis and urine culture test and treated as soon as possible.

Purpose of Urine Culture Test for Children

This test is done to identify the causative agent microorganisms for urinary tract infection. After identifying the kind of microorganism, effective antibiotics must be determined with an another laboratory test. This test is done after urine culture test with placing organisms and different kind of antibiotics together in a special culture media. This test is called antibiotic sensitivity test and then antibiogram result would be collected so the correct antibiotics for the effective microorganism can be used for treatment.

When Urine Culture test should be done for children ?

When you take your child to the doctor for a routine medical examination or because of a problem your doctor may recommend some blood tests, ultrasound or urinalysis. If there are white blood cells more than 5 in your child’s urine sample doctor may request a urine culture test additionally.

Important Topics about children urine culture test

Urine sample must be collected in sterile conditions as much as possible. Urine must be collected in a  sterile urine collection cup and delivered to laboratory in a short time. For an urinalysis or urine culture test a mid-stream urine sample is needed but this is hard to do for children and some additional process should be done to have a proper urine sample.

urine collection from babies

Urine collection in infants and children

If the patient is a baby or a little child, clean the skin around urethra with a cleansing wipe or wash with soap and water then dry the area well. The purpose of this cleaning is to prevent contamination of microorganisms from the skin around the urethra. If skin is not cleaned well enough some bacteria may be mixed from stool and can multiply in the urine culture and this may cause wrong antibiotic usage.

Raise your baby up with arms and legs bended then put the cup under her/his urethra. Pat gently to the groin to make urination easier. If the child is older enough, after cleaning process place the special plastics bag on babies urethra.

Plastic urine collection bags usage for babies

Attach the adhesive parts to babies skin.

Boys; place his entire penis into the plastic bag and attach the adhesive edges to his skin

Girls; Place the plastic urine sample bag on to her vagina and attach the adhesive edges near her labia.

Please take some additional plastic urine bags for backup because urine collection from children may be hard sometimes.

After your baby urinates close the bag carefully and deliver to the laboratory as soon as possible.

Sometimes these techniques would not be possible and catheter or a supra pubic aspiration with a needle may be used to perform urine culture from your baby.

How long urine culture test takes ?

After the urine samples reach to the laboratory some special process are done to them;

  • Inoculating the sample to culture media
  • Incubation process; waiting for about 24 hours for microorganism reproduction
  • Identifying the microorganism; finding the infection factor to name it
  • Antibiotic sensitivity test/antibiogram; If bacteria are found as a factor for infection, finding the right antibiotic for that bacteria. It takes one more day for this procedure.

After the incubation process if no bacteria are found this means result is negative and your baby’s urine culture result  is clear.


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