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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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised February 27, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 27, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.