About urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happen when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, get into urine and then grow in the bladder.
UTIs are common in children, especially among girls.
UTIs are more likely in children who have bladder problems like urinary incontinence.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children and teenagers
Symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children and teenagers include:
- pain or stinging when urinating
- a frequent urge to urinate
- urinating only a little bit, but often
- wetting accidents
- difficulty getting urine to start flowing
- pink, red or brown urine, or blood in urine.
Your child might also have a fever or stomach pain.
UTIs in babies and toddlers are different from UTIs in older children. In babies and toddlers, symptoms of urinary tract infection include fever, irritability and poor feeding.
Does your child need to see a doctor about a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
Yes. Your child should see the GP as soon as possible if they have any symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Tests for urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Doctors need to test your child’s urine to diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI).
If your child has had a lot of UTIs, or the UTIs have been unusual in some way, your GP might recommend an ultrasound to look at your child’s urinary tract, including their kidneys and bladder.
The GP might also refer your child to a paediatrician, urologist or renal physician.
Treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Your child will probably need to take a short course of antibiotics.
Your GP might also give your child a medicine to reduce the stinging when your child urinates.
Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Here are some things you can do at home to help your child avoid urinary tract infections (UTIs):
- Make sure your child always drinks plenty of water throughout the day.
- Encourage your child to urinate regularly, including before every meal or snack and before bed.
- Get a toilet step to support your child’s feet until they reach the floor. This can be especially good for girls. The foot support helps them to relax their pelvic floors and stomach muscles so they can empty their bladders completely.
- Discourage your child from straining or trying to ‘push’ urine out. This is especially important for girls.
- Teach your child to wipe from front to back after weeing or pooing. This is especially important for girls, because it can help to prevent the spread of bacteria forward from the anus.
- See your GP if your child has constipation or hard poo – these are risk factors for UTIs.