Are you a Health Professional? Jump over to the doctors only platform. Click Here

Urinary tract infections in children: Dr Joe Kosterich

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Urinary tract infections in children in some respects have similar principles to those in adults.


Hi, I’m Doctor Joe.

Of course as soon as we are talking about children, we’re talking about babies right through to teenagers. So there are some differences according to age groups.

Typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection are stinging or burning with passing urine, needing to go more often to the toilet, going at night perhaps when previously you didn’t and sometimes blood in the urine.

Now an older child will be able to describe some of these symptoms and if that is the case then it is important to take your child along to your GP and it’s likely that they’re going to need some treatment which may likely include some antibiotics.

In a very younger age group, of course in babies, they can’t tell you what the symptoms are so some of the pointers to a urinary tract infections can be fever, sometimes vomiting even or just being grizzly or off their food.

Now unfortunately none of those symptoms are particularly specific so one of the other pointers can be if the urine seems to be a darker colour or seems to have an odour. Again that’s not always specific so a baby with a fever where there isn’t a very obvious cause and particularly if it’s a high fever then you do need to be going along to your GP.

Now in children if they get recurrent urinary infections, and again people argue as to how many constitutes recurrent but it would probably be a few through the course of a six month period, there may be some underlying issue with the kidney or urinary system. Not always, so you don’t need to panic if there’s a single infection.

However for some children recurrent infections may indicate some structural issue to do with the bladder and the ureter, and some babies or children may have what’s called ureteric reflux which predisposes them a little bit to urinary infections.

It’s important to remember that one infection doesn’t prove or point to any of this but certainly for a baby or a young child whose getting recurrent infections have a chat with your GP and part of the process may be to get an ultrasound scan or perhaps some other investigations done to assess the urinary tract and bladder system.

Even in these situations, more often than not there isn’t any underlying abnormality but if there are some structural issues, in some circumstances, surgery may be recommended. But I do want to stress that fortunately that’s the exception rather than the rule.

The key thing with urinary tract infections in any age group is getting on and treating them fairly quickly because if they’re not treated fairly quickly they can spread from the bladder up to the kidneys and that becomes a more serious infection that can really make you quite sick.

Some people again, at any age might end up in hospital if they end up with a kidney infection.

So the key things for urinary tract infections in babies or children is getting along and seeing your GP early, making sure your child is drinking plenty of water, almost certainly with a confirmed infection treating it with an antibiotic and if there is frequent or recurrent infections, looking at perhaps getting some more investigations and checks done.

More information

Abdomen painFor more information on urinary tract infections, including information on its risk factors, diagnosis and treatments, visit Urinary Tract Infection- UTI.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Posted On: 4 November, 2014
Modified On: 14 August, 2018


Created by: myVMC