Before your baby leaves the hospital, they will undergo several tests to check for various conditions and diseases that can’t be seen on observation but may cause health problems. If identified and treated early, serious issues can often be prevented.
In New York State, all babies are required to be tested for more than 45 metabolic and genetic disorders, even if the baby seems healthy and has no symptoms or health problems. Please note that these requirements frequently change—consult a medical professional for the most up-to-date health information.
Types of Screenings for Newborns
Newborn hearing screening
New York State requires all babies to have their hearing checked before going home. This screening aims to check your newborn’s ability to hear and help identify babies who might require further testing. Since good hearing is essential for developing speech and language skills, identifying and managing hearing impairment must be done as early as possible.
Newborn metabolic testing
A metabolic disorder is a disruption to the way your body turns food into energy. Some of these disorders affect how your body absorbs nutrients and handles enzymes, while some affect the breakdown of amino acids, carbohydrates, or lipids.
To test for metabolic disorders, a tiny amount of blood is taken from the baby’s heel, collected on special paper, and sent to the Department of Health for analysis. The baby’s heel may have some redness at the puncture site and some bruising that usually goes away in a few days.
This entire process is sometimes referred to as “PKU screening” or a “PKU test.” This is a misnomer, as newborn metabolic screening consists of tests for dozens of disorders and the Phenylketonuria (PKU) test is only one of them. Some other conditions screened for are galactosemia, sickle cell disease, and cystic fibrosis. If your baby receives a positive test result for one of these disorders, your doctor will contact you to arrange follow-up testing.
Baby vaccinations and immunizations
Vaccines are the safest way to protect you and your child from potentially life-threatening illnesses. Vaccines teach the immune system to recognize infections to fight them off in the future.
The New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend you keep your child up-to-date with the recommended newborn vaccination schedule.
|Diphtheria, Tetanus, and
acellular Pertussis (DTaP)
|Dose 3 and 4
|Annually 1 or 2 doses
and Rubella (MMR)
|Varicella (chicken pox)
COVID-19 vaccines are also available for children ages six months and older. Getting children vaccinated against COVID-19 can help keep them from getting seriously sick if they get COVID-19. Vaccinating children can also help relieve the strain on families by providing greater confidence in children participating in childcare, school, and other activities.
For the latest information regarding the latest recommended baby vaccine schedule, visit the CDC website. Please note that these schedules often change. Please consult a medical professional for the most up-to-date vaccine schedule.
Trust NewYork-Presbyterian with Your Child’s Health
At NewYork-Presbyterian, our team of pediatric doctors can help guide you through comprehensive testing for your newborn, answer your questions, and walk you through any next steps. We’re here to support the well-being of your baby through birth and all stages of life.
For more information, please consult with your doctor’s office.