Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Children

Learn more about urinary tract infections in children.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is typically caused by bacteria which infect the urinary tract.

UTI Symptoms in Children

Your child may or may not have symptoms. 

The usual UTI symptoms are: 
Passing urine more often than usual
Pain and burning when passing urine
Abdominal or back pain
Nausea or vomiting
Wetting during the day
Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
Blood in urine

What Causes UTI?

A urinary tract infection is an infection of any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys and bladder. It is more common in girls than in boys.

Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria which infect the urinary tract. Although bacteria are not normally found in urine, they can easily enter the urinary tract from the skin around the anus. Intestinal bacteria E. coli is the most frequent cause of urinary tract infection.

An infection can occur anywhere along the urinary tract, but the lower part — the urethra and bladder — is most commonly involved. This is called cystitis.

If the infection travels up the ureters to the kidneys, it's called pyelonephritis — a generally more serious condition.

What to Do If Your Child Has Symptoms of UTI 

Consult your child's doctor. Give your child any medication prescribed by the doctor. Be sure to check whether the medication should be taken before or after meals. If your child vomits or refuses the medicine, notify the doctor. 
Remember to give your child extra fluids during this time. This will help to dilute the urine and make it less painful to pass. 
Notify your child's schoolteacher that your child might need to use the washroom more often than usual. 
Ensure that your child practises good hygiene even when they have no symptoms of UTI. Instruct them to wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet, and have girls wipe their genital area from front to back. 
Remember to keep your child's return appointment with the doctor.

UTI Diagnosis and Treatment Options

After performing a physical exam, the doctor may take a urine sample to check for and identify bacteria causing the infection.

The urine sample may be used for a urinalysis (a test that checks the urine for germs or pus) or a urine culture (which attempts to grow and identify bacteria in a laboratory). Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best medication to treat it.

Urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotic used and how long it must be taken will depend on the type and severity of bacteria causing the infection.

After several days of antibiotics, your child’s doctor may repeat the urine tests to check if the infection is gone. An incompletely treated UTI can recur or spread.

UTI Prevention

How can you prevent your child from getting a urinary tract infection?
Keep your child's genital area clean.
Teach your daughter to wipe her genital area from front to back after she goes to the toilet.
Ensure that your child wears cotton underpants and changes them daily.
Do not put bubble bath or bath oil in your child's bath.
Help your child establish regular toilet habits. 
Help your child avoid constipation as it may prevent proper urine flow. To prevent constipation, include bran, whole wheat bread, raw vegetables and raw fruits in your child's diet. Do not give your children laxatives unless they have been ordered by the doctor.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.

Back to Top