Urinary Tract Infections in Childhood
(UTI in Childhood)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
The urinary tract carries urine from the kidneys to the outside of the body. It includes the kidneys, bladder, and tubes that connect them. The tubes from the kidney to bladder are called ureters. The tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is called the urethra. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any of these structures.
UTIs are caused by bacteria. The bacteria may enter the bladder or the kidneys.
Factors that may increase your child's chance of a urinary tract infection include:
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may also ask for a urine sample. Follow the doctor's directions on collecting your child's urine.
Your child's bodily fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
Imaging tests may be ordered if your child is a boy with a UTI or a girl after her second UTI. These infections may be associated with problems in the urinary tract. The test may include ultrasound or specialized scans and x-rays.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:
Antibiotics will help fight the bacteria that is causing the infection. Your child will most likely be given antibiotic pills or liquid to take by mouth. Finish the medication even if your child is feeling better.
Some severe infections may need to have antibiotics delivered by IV or an injection.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. This will help to flush the bacteria out of the system. It will also decrease the concentration of the urine. This may make it more comfortable to urinate.
Pain and Fever Relief
UTIs can be uncomfortable and may cause fever. Your child's doctor may advise over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers.
Follow the instructions on the package.
Note —Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with the doctor before giving your child aspirin.
To help reduce your child's chances of a urinary tract infection:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and management of initial UTI in febrile infants and children aged 2 to 24 months. Pediatrics. 2011 Sep;128(3):595.
Urinary tract infection. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at:
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Accessed March 20, 2018.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated July 31, 2017. Accessed March 20, 2018.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center website. Available at:
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Updated February 2018. Accessed March 20, 2018.
12/5/2007 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed... : Pohl A. Modes of administration of antibiotics for symptomatic severe urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2007;(4):CD003237.
11/6/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed... : Craig JC, Simpson JM, et al. Antibiotic prophylaxis and recurrent urinary tract infection in children. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(18):1748-1759.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 5/5/2014
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