Family Corner: Does Your Child Have a UTI?

urinary tract infections in children

The urinary tract includes the parts of the body that make and get rid of urine: the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The majority of urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra. These germs may then move on to the bladder and sometimes the kidneys, causing infection. If you suspect your child has a UTI, it’s a good idea to visit a RediClinic walk-in clinic promptly. Here’s why.

UTI Symptoms in Children

A UTI causes pain and inflammation in the linings of the urinary tract. Older children with a UTI are more likely to experience the same symptoms as adults with a UTI. Your child may complain of pain in the belly or back, cry when urinating or complain that it hurts to urinate. He or she may need to urinate often and have trouble controlling urine. Common symptoms of UTI in older children include:

  • Pain, stinging or burning when urinating
  • Strong urge to urinate frequently, even right after the bladder is emptied
  • Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul smell
  • Discomfort, pressure or bloating in the lower abdomen
  • Pain in the back, belly or pubic region
  • Loss of bladder control

In babies and young children, symptoms of a UTI may not necessarily be linked to the urinary tract. Your child may be irritable, have a low or high fever, experience loss of appetite and seem generally unwell. You may notice that a baby’s diaper smells bad. Here are possible signs of a UTI in this age group:

  • Fever not linked to another illness
  • Urine which has a foul smell
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fussiness
  • Vomiting

Preventing a UTI

Certain habits reduce the likelihood of getting a UTI. Encourage children not to “hold it” when they need to urinate. Urinating helps to flush bacteria out of the body. For babies and young children, changing diapers more often can help to prevent UTIs. Girls should be taught to wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering through the urethra.

Seek Help at RediClinic

If you suspect your child has a UTI, head to RediClinic promptly. We offer urinalysis testing that can confirm the presence of a UTI. Without treatment, UTI infection may spread to the kidneys and cause serious complications. Make an online appointment at RediClinic walk-in clinics, open seven days a week.