Do's and Don'ts for Practitioners


  • DO… call it the newborn screening, metabolic panel, heel-stick or dried blood spot test
  • DO… accurately complete ALL the information requested on the card
  • DO… remember specimen card is a legal document and to record the name of the person collecting the specimen
  • DO… collect the 1st specimen between 24-48 hours after delivery
  • DO… collect the 2nd specimen between 10-14 days of age
  • DO… practice aseptic collection techniques by:
    • wearing gloves and using sterile lancets
    • avoiding contamination with urine, feces, or other interfering substances
    • fill each circle with a SINGLE application of blood allowing blood to soak to the back of the filter paper
  • DO… double check the blood specimen is satisfactory for testing before sending out to the lab
  • DO… air dry card for 2-4 hours before closing the flap
  • DO… send card to the State Newborn Screening lab as soon as it is dry and no later than 24 hours after collection
  • DO… call us for high priority specimens that require STAT testing (i.e. clinical symptoms or family history of newborn screening disorder)


  • DON'T… call it the "PKU test"
  • DON'T… wait to mail more than one day of specimens ("batching" cards can delay testing & ultimately diagnosis & treatment of babies with life-threatening disorders)
  • DON'T… collect blood <24 hours after delivery (unless HA/TPN, antibiotics, steroids, transfusion will be administered, or the baby will be transferred to another hospital)
  • DON'T… use EDTA tubes to collect blood (purple top)
  • DON'T… use EDTA tubes to collect blood (purple top)
  • DON'T… expose the card to heat, sunlight or humidity, or place in plastic bags
  • DON'T… contaminate or scratch the filter paper
  • DON'T… collect blood on both sides of the filter paper
  • DON'T… layer successive drops of blood on the same circle
  • DON'T… check Multiple Births box if baby is a single birth