Urinary Tract Infections in Children

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra, the organs that make up the urinary tract. UTIs in children usually occur if bacteria begin to grow in these parts of the body.

Symptoms of a UTI can be hard to notice in a baby or young child. A baby's symptoms may include unexplained fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, and urine that has an unusual smell. A young child's symptoms may include pain or burning during urination, frequent urination, loss of bladder control, discolored or foul-smelling urine, and fever.

Diagnosis of a UTI in a child typically requires a medical history and physical exam, urinalysis, and urine culture. But if a child's symptoms and urinalysis results strongly suggest that he or she has a UTI, many doctors will prescribe antibiotics for UTI without waiting for the results of a urine culture.

Treatment for most children with UTIs is oral antibiotics and home care.

Home care includes encouraging the child to drink extra fluids to flush bacteria out of the bladder and reminding the child to urinate often and to empty the bladder each time.

Current as of: August 21, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology