Urinary Track Infection (UTI)

Professional information for parents

What is a UTI?

  • A UTI is an infection of the bladder or kidneys. It is caused by bacteria and is treated with antibiotics. Bladder infections are far more common than kidney infections; kidney infections are more serious and may need treatment with antibiotics through a drip in their vein
  • Your child is more likely to get a UTI if their are under 1 year old, a girl, or have problems with their urinary tract. About 8 in every 100 girls and 2 in every 100 boys will have had a urinary tract infection by the time they are 7 years old.

What are the symptoms? 

It can be difficult to tell when a child has a UTI, especially if they are very young. The symptoms can vary depending on your child's age and the severity of the infection. Features suggesting a bladder infection include:

  • Pain or stinging when passing urine
  • Passing urine more often than normal
  • Crying when passing urine
  • Refusing to pass urine

If the following features are also present, your child might have a kidney infection:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Back or tummy pain

When you should worry? 


If your child has any of the following features:

  • Becomes pale, mottled and feels extremely cold to touch
  • Becomes extremely agitated (crying inconsolably despite distraction), confused or very lethargic (difficult to wake)
  • Has blue lips or pauses in their breathing (apnoeas) or has an irregular breathing pattern
  • Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (see the 'Glass Test')
  • Is under 3 months of age with a temperature of 38°C / 100.4°F or above (unless fever in the 48 hours following vaccinations and no other red or amber features)

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999


If your child has any of the following features:

  • Is refusing to take their antibiotics or not keeping them down due to vomiting
  • Seems dehydrated (sunken eyes, drowsy or no urine passed for 12 hours)
  • Starts to complain of pain in the back
  • Starts getting uncontrollable shakes (rigors)
  • Seems to be getting worse despite being on antibiotics for more than 2 days
  • Continues to have a fever of 38.0°C or above for more than 5 days

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery or contact NHS 111 - dial 111 or for children aged 5 years and above visit 111.nhs.uk


  • None of the features above

Self care

  Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, contact NHS 111 – dial 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk

  • A UTI is diagnosed by testing a sample of your child's urine (pee). This sample needs to be 'caught' in a sterile pot. The sample will usually be tested immediately (dipstick) and may also be sent to the hospital for further testing.
  • It will take a couple of days to get the results back - your child's antibiotics may be stopped or changed at that point.
  • If your child is under 6 months of age, they will need kidney scans soon after their UTI. This will be organised by their doctor. Older children with frequent UTIs may also need a scan of their kidneys. This will look to see if their is a structural problem that explains why your child is more likely to get UTIs and whether the infection has caused any damage to the kidney.



  • Your child will need antibiotics to treat their UTI. Most children with a bladder infection can be managed with oral antibiotics.
  • If your child has a kidney infection or if they are very young (under 3 months of age), they may need to go to hospital for antibiotics through a drip in their vein.


  • Ensure your child drinks plenty - aim for 6-8 glasses daily
  • Ensure your child goes to the toilet regularly - aim for every 2-3 hours, including at school
  • Treat constipation - see your GP
  • Encourage girls to wipe their bottom from front to back
  • Use loose-fitting cotton underwear
  • Avoid bubble bath and excessive soap in the bath


Further advice and information for parents




This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hertfordshire and West Essex

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