Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children are fairly common and can affect the bladder or the kidney. If your child has a UTI, the infection will usually be treated with antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Your doctor may refer your child for additional tests and an appointment with our Nemours pediatric urologists who specialize in treating both simple and complex urologic problems in children.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection caused by bacteria (germs) getting into the urinary tract. The urinary tract is a term for those parts of the body involved in making and passing urine, which include the kidneys, bladder, ureters (tubes which connect the kidneys and bladder) and the urethra (tube through which the urine exits the body).
Urinary tract infections in children are fairly common and can affect the lower tract (bladder) or the upper tract (kidney). By 5 years old, about 8% of girls and 1-2% of boys have had at least one UTI.
Causes and Signs of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Children
Some causes of UTIs in children include poor toilet and hygiene habits (not wiping from front to back or cleaning the bottom area thoroughly), the use of bubble baths or strongly scented soaps that can irritate the urethra and lead to holding onto urine, a family history of UTIs, or vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) when urine flows backwards from the bladder to the ureters and kidneys.
In older children, UTIs may cause obvious complaints such as burning or pain with urination (peeing) but UTIs may be harder to detect in infants and young children because symptoms are less specific.
Be sure to contact your doctor if your child has any of these symptoms:
- persistent fever of unknown cause [100.4° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius) rectally in infants, or over 101° Fahrenheit (38.3° Celsius) in children]
- burning or pain when urinating
- frequent or urgent urination, and frequent urination at night
- strong-smelling, cloudy or bloody urine
- abdominal (especially below the navel), back or side pain
Sometimes, a fever is the only sign of a UTI.
Treating Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Children
After performing a physical exam and asking about symptoms, your child’s primary care doctor will take a urine sample to check for and identify bacteria causing the infection.
If your child has a UTI, the infection will usually be treated with antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Your doctor may refer your child for additional tests and an appointment with our Nemours pediatric urologists who specialize in treating both simple and complex urologic problems in children.
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- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
- Patient Registration (PDF)
- Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
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Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
Nemours pediatric urologists diagnose and treat urinary tract infections on the first Friday of every month at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Philadelphia.
Treating Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Children at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Philadelphia
Our pediatric urology specialists come from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, where the Division of Pediatric Urology is ranked nationally for outstanding care by U.S. News & World Report.
Everyone on Nemours' pediatric urology team truly cares about your child and your family. We know how difficult it can be to deal with urological conditions, especially if surgery is needed.
We do our best to clearly explain treatment options, to answer your questions, and address all of your concerns about your child's urinary tract infection (UTI).