Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Quick GuideUrinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms Pictures Slideshow

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms Pictures Slideshow

Can UTIs in children be prevented?

There are several suggestions that have been made by pediatric urologists to lessen the likelihood of children developing urinary tract infections. These include

  1. Hygiene: Wipe females from front to back during diaper changes or after using the toilet in older girls. With uncircumcised males, mild and gentle traction of the foreskin helps to expose the urethral opening. Most boys are able to fully retract the foreskin by 4 years of age.
  2. Complete bladder emptying: Some toilet-trained children are in hurry to leave the bathroom. Encourage "double voiding" (urinating immediately after finishing the first void). Children should be encouraged to urinate approximately every two to three hours. Some children ignore the sensation of a full bladder in the desire to continue to play.
  3. Avoid the "4 C's": carbonated drinks, high amounts of citrus, caffeine (sodas), and chocolate. Some kidney specialists are not as adamant about this option.
  4. Avoid bubble baths: Some renal specialists also view this recommendation with skepticism.
  5. Encourage cranberry juice: Similar to the above "4 C's," some specialists view this suggestion as folklore.
  6. Prophylactic antibiotics: Daily low-dose antibiotics under a doctor's supervision may be used in children with recurrent UTIs or in those with anatomic or physiologic factors that predispose to UTIs.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCES:
American Academy of Pediatrics. "The Diagnosis, Treatment and Evaluation of the Initial Urinary Tract Infection in Febrile Infants and Young Children." Pediatrics 103.4 Apr. 1999: 843-852.

Elder, Jack S. "Urinary Tract Infections." Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2007.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2015
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