UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) in Children

Urinary infections in children usually go away quickly if you treat them right away. If your child keeps getting infections, your doctor may suggest some medical tests to rule out more serious problems. Urinary infections can lead to a serious infection throughout the body called sepsis. Problems from a urinary infection are more likely to happen in babies born prematurely, newborns, and infants who have something blocking the flow of their urine.

Germs that live in the large intestine and in stool can get in the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Then germs can get into the bladder and kidneys. Keep in mind that babies and young children may not have the most common symptoms, such as pain or burning when they urinate.


A child with a UTI may not have any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can range from mild to severe. UTI symptoms can include:

  • feverWhat is a Urinary Tract Infection- Causes and Treatment
  • pain or burning during urination
  • few drops of urine at a time
  • irritability
  • lack of apetite
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • cloudy, dark, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
  • urinating often
  • pain in the back or side below the ribs
  • urine leakage or bedding in older children


If it seems that a baby or child may have a urine infection, the urine will need to be examined under a microscope and a culture will be done. A culture is performed bacteria is grown in special gel. This is how it will be possible to tell what the germ is and which antibiotics will get rid of it. This may take a day or so, and the doctor may not be able to start treatment until the results of this test have been determined.

UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) in ChildrenAnother way is to dip test strips in the urine and these will show if a urine infection is present. However, these are usually not enough to be sure, unless the child has had infections before. The test strip results may be normal even if a child has an infection. Collecting clean urine for this test from young children can be difficult and a special bag may be used. Sometimes the urine is collected in other ways, such as using a catheter. If a urine infection is found, more tests will usually be performed to see if the bladder, ureters, urethra and kidneys are infected as well. Usually, the first test done will be an ultrasound.


Most children with urinary tract infections will need antibiotics. These may be given orally if the child is not too unwell, but sometimes they need to be given by injection.

If the child many and recurring infections and the urinary tract is malformed, an operation may be recommended. Before this is done, the baby or child is likely to be given a low dose of antibiotics, usually once a day, to prevent further infections after the surgery.

Having a urinary tract infection is painful. The urine becomes acidic and causes a burning pain when the child passes urine, and there can be pain in the lower abdomen and a need to pass urine often. It may be useful to give the child medication which neutralises the acid and several types are available at pharmacies. The doctor will be able to help you figure out the ones that are suitable for a child.