How to Spot UTIs in Children

Kenneth Knowles, MD
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Knowles, MDJanuary 7th, 2021
child potty training

Children handle sickness a lot differently than adults. With young children in particular, they sometimes don’t let you know when something is bothering them or might not even realize the symptoms they’re experiencing are a sign that something is wrong. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a good example of this. While many adults can recognize the symptoms of a UTI fairly quickly, a child might have a harder time knowing and expressing that this infection is affecting him or her. Therefore, it’s important to know how to spot the signs of a urinary tract infection in children.

UTI Basics

It’s helpful to know what exactly a UTI is so that you can understand how it affects your child. Believe it or not, urinary tract infections can be just as common in children as they are in adults. UTIs are caused by bacteria traveling through the urinary tract and into the bladder or the kidneys, and kids are notorious for being more germy human beings than adults. So, there’s a strong chance that you or your child has experienced a UTI or will develop one in the future. Despite being so common among children and adults, UTIs should be quickly addressed as soon as you notice symptoms to avoid them becoming worse, which is why it’s important you know how to spot one in children.

Signs of a UTI in Children

Whether you’re a parent of young children or a caregiver, you want to be aware of the signs of a UTI. If you’re lucky, the child will alert you of symptoms he or she is experiencing, which can include:

  • Burning or itching when urinating
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back
  • Urine that smells bad or is bloody

If your child doesn’t come to you with these complaints but you suspect that he or she might have a UTI, you should look for symptoms like:

  • Urinating frequently but with only small amounts of urine
  • Fever
  • Being less active
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Being irritable or fussy
  • Having “accidents” again even though he or she has been potty trained

What Causes a UTI?

As a parent, you always want to take your child’s health concerns seriously. But you also know that not every little sniffle or scratch requires medical attention. So, while your child might display a symptom or two that indicate he or she might have a UTI, it would help solidify your suspicions if you knew what may have caused it to develop. Urinary tract infections can develop in children from:

  • Taking bubble baths
  • Wearing tight-fitting clothing
  • Holding urine for a long time
  • Girls wiping from “back to front” instead of “front to back” especially after a bowel movement

Of course, these are only a few potential causes of UTIs in children, so just because your child doesn’t do any of these things doesn’t mean his or her complaints shouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s always best to be safe rather than sorry, so after noticing any signs of a UTI in your child or hearing any complaints from him or her, you should seek out an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional.

In-Home UTI Treatment

Arriving at family home

It’s not always easy for a parent or caregiver to immediately bring a child to the doctor’s office. Life gets in the way and DispatchHealth understands this, so we offer professional in-home

UTI treatment for children and adults. Our knowledgeable team of medical personnel will provide the necessary treatment options, like antibiotics, that your child needs to address a UTI and help him or her return to normal life.

You can feel confident having our team come to your home and rest assured that we will treat your child with absolute care and compassion.

Contact DispatchHealth through our website, mobile app, or via phone.


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

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The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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