ATTENTION: If you think you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call our COVID-19 triage line at 503-814-0099 before entering a Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics facility. This includes staff. Anyone at a Salem Health facility (inside or outside) must wear a facial mask at all times.
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Baby screenings

The nursing staff will be closely observing you and your baby to make sure you are both doing well while in the hospital. In addition, your baby will be checked every day and will receive the following screenings and vaccines while in the hospital. Contact your baby’s health care provider for test results. For additional information, go to the Oregon State Public Health website.

Erythromycin eye ointment

Erythromycin eye ointment is given to all newborn babies within one hour of delivery. It is the law in Oregon that babies receive an antibiotic eye ointment to prevent infections that could lead to eye damage, including blindness.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is also given to all newborns within one hour of birth. It is the law in Oregon that babies receive this shot in order to help prevent bleeding.

Hepatitis B vaccine

All newborns receive the hepatitis B vaccination by twelve hours of age. You will be given information about the vaccine and an immunization record to help you keep track of all your baby’s vaccinations.


All newborns are screened to determine if they need testing or treatment for blood sugar problems. If needed, this test requires a drop of blood which is usually taken from the baby’s heel.


Jaundice, the yellowish-orange tint to a baby’s skin, can be a serious problem. All newborns are tested before they go home (sooner if the baby appears jaundiced).

Watch your baby’s skin color after you are home and keep your follow-up appointments. Call your provider if you have any concerns.


Newborns are monitored throughout their entire hospital stay for any signs of infection. If needed, lab tests will be done and treatment may be given.

Newborn metabolic (PKU)

Oregon law requires that all babies be tested for phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare disorder that impairs metabolism, and your baby will need to get a second test after two weeks.

You will be given an envelope with the second test inside for you to take to the baby’s follow-up appointment.

Newborn hearing

All newborns are screened for hearing loss that can lead to difficulties in speech and language development and learning delays. The test is easy, painless and reliable.

Pulse oximetry

Pulse oximetry is a simple test to screen for heart defects in newborns by determining the amount of oxygen in your baby’s blood.

Checking all newborns before they are discharged from the hospital is the best way to make sure that even babies who don’t show symptoms of heart problems have been screened.

If a heart defect is identified early, your baby can receive the specialized treatment necessary to prevent death or disability.  


If you have questions about any of these screenings or vaccines, please ask your baby’s health care provider before the baby is born.