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Is BUCCAL SWAB safe to put in infant's mouth.

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I want to use buccal swab to test for paternity. I want to rule out any probability that my baby is not exchanged with someone else baby in the hospital, I want to use paternity check provided by easydna . My question is : How safe is it to put buccal swab in infant's mouth ? Also , is there any chance, that because of swab testing my baby could get infected? I am too much scared of HIV.
Let me be direct here, is there any chance because of buccal swab test , my baby can get infected to HIV or any other disease? They say thier swabis sterile, but even if it is not sterile ( accidentley ) is there any risk ?

Category: Pediatrician

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Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
 21 Doctors Online

Dear parent,
Thank you for your query at
I can understand your concerns.
Buccal swabs used for paternity testing have never been reported as a source of HIV infection in children, till date. There is a very low risk, by this I mean, a theoretical risk of say 1 in a million. This is almost ZERO. So, you can definitely go ahead with paternity testing without worrying about the risk of contracting HIV.
I have a question for you... You say that you have a concern regarding baby getting exchanged at the hospital. Though the probability that such an exchange has happened is miniscule, I respect your suspicion. Suppose you get the paternity testing done and discover that it is negative, are you ready to face the consequences? How will it affect your spouse, this baby's future and you? Will you give up this baby then?
Secondly paternity testing only checks for fatherhood. So theoretically, the mother may have still borne the child. Paternity testing may also lead to matrimonial discord, especially when it is negative. So please think about these issues and discuss with your spouse as well before going for paternity testing.
Hope the above clarifications and suggestions help.
Dr. Saptharishi L G

Patient replied :

Thanks doctor for your detailed answer. I think I should share all details with you. Basically, I have been sufering from an OCD for quite long time. So to get rid out of negetive thoughts I was planning to do this test. When my son was born, my wife was the only patient in OT and my son was only new born baby in OT. So there was no chance for mixing up in OT. we were given baby after 30 mins after his born. Then, on 2nd day he was put in some sort of bright light for an hour or so, at that time I left that place for a while. After some days I was attacked by negetive thoughts that what if someone has changed my baby that time, all new born baby looks same. All this sounds stupid to me as well, but I can't help myself. There were only 2 new born babies ( another baby was 2 days elder then mine) . Also around 7 of my family member have closly observed him after he was born, so it is almost impossible that everyone misses swap, if any,
Apart from that, he suffered from physiological Jaundice, at that time his blood was tested, and I came to know that his blood group is O+. Mine and my wife both have A+. So I was under impression that he must also be A+, I asked this to doctor, and he said that his blood group can be O+ as well.
i was just going for paternity test, but then I was worried about HIV from swabs. I do not want to harm my son because of my doubts thats why i contacted you. you see, how cunning an OCD is, I was trying to get rid out one thing and it catches me in another.
I know right from the bottom of my heart that he is my son only, but OCD sucks. I think I will be able to come out of this, and would use paternity test as only last resort.
Just curious, I have read that HIV quickly dies in open air, so why there is even one in Million probability ?
Thanks for your detailed answer. you talked about emotional aspects as well, it was indeed very human of you. BTW, I love my son and he is everything to me.

Dear Parent,
I am really glad that you opened up to me with so many important details. Thank you for the trust placed in me.
Medically, one in a million is close to nonexistent. But that number is because of breach in protocols. Some centers may reuse swabs and not adhere to strict sterilisation techniques. These incidents usually occur in poorer countries with limited resources. They are absolutely unheard of in the developed world.
Secondly, your point of view is well taken. You have a lot of insight and you know exactly where the problem lies. Am sure you have it in you to beat it as well.
So forget the paternity test and enjoy your time with the baby. These moments are never going to come back and before you realize, your baby would be all grown up :) Enjoy your fatherhood. It s the best phase of a man's life.
Our conversation has taken a friendly tone and hence, I ll also provide a few personal suggestions.
You are indeed going through a tough phase. In life, whenever you are going through a very good patch or a very bad patch, our mind gets either too excited or depressed. Both these states of mind are not good. In those times, just look into the mirror and tell loudly to yourself that 'This too shall pass'. This has always worked for me. Hope it helps you as well.

Patient replied :

Thanks doctor for your valuable feedback,
I know following questions are some how irrelevant, but want to get un-biased answer from appropriate person. that would help me. please give me un-biased answer.
1) how likley it is that baby swaped outside OT? if happens, can nurse/doctor detect it ?
2) how likley it is that newborn and 2 days old are swaped, un-noticed to anyone ?
Thanks you doctor for all your help. Our conversation certainley went way beyond my expectations. Best of luck to you. :)

Dear parent,
The probability that your baby got swapped is Zero. There are very rigorous mechanisms in every hospital in US, Canada as well as Europe to prevent such incidents. This includes bar coding strip locked around the neonate's wrists or ankles. These cannot be removed or exchanged. There are so many other protective measures at the level of the nurse, pediatrician as well as obstetrician. There are multiple anthropometric parameters recorded at birth and these are subsequently followed up. So any change in these parameters would be immediately detected. It is impossible to have two babies with the same length, weight and head circumference.
There are so many computer-based security measures. Hence, I think that it is near impossible and hence, you should stop worrying about it.
Dear friend, you have a perfect family. Enjoy your fatherhood. Leave the doubts behind and live your life to the fullest.

Dr. Saptharishi L G
Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
Senior Residency: DM,  Pediatric Critical Care, PGIMER

Residency: MD, Pediatrics, Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, 2013

Internship: JIPMER, 2009

Medical School: MBBS, Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, 2008
Dr. Saptharishi L G and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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