These studies may be done while the child has an infection. Most often they are done weeks to several months afterward.
Your doctor will consider many things when deciding if and when a special study is needed, including:
How old is the child? (Infants and younger children usually need follow-up tests.)
Has the child had infections in the past?
Is the infection severe?
Does the child have other illnesses?
Does the child have a problem with the spinal cord or defects of the urinary tract?
Has the child responded quickly to antibiotics?
In children, UTIs should be treated quickly with antibiotics to protect the kidneys. Any child under 6 months old or who has other complications should see a specialist right away.
Younger infants will usually stay in the hospital and be given antibiotics through a vein. Older infants and children are treated with antibiotics by mouth. If this is not possible, they are admitted to the hospital where they are given antibiotics through a vein.
It is important that your child drink plenty of fluids while they have a urinary tract infection.
Some children may be treated with antibiotics for long periods of time (as long as 6 months - 2 years). This treatment is more likely when the child has had repeat infections or a condition called vesicoureteral reflux, which causes urine to flow back up into the ureters and kidneys.
The health care provider may also recommend low-dose antibiotics after the first symptoms have gone away. This type of treatment is less common now than it once was.
Antibiotics commonly used in children include:
Amoxicillin or amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (Augmentin)
Doxycycline (should not be used in children under age 8)
Follow-up urine cultures may be needed to make sure that bacteria are no longer in the bladder.
Most children are cured with proper treatment. The treatment may continue over a long period of time.
Long-term problems from repeated UTIs in children can be serious. However, these infections can usually be prevented.
Fever of 100.4 °F (38 °C) rectally in infants, or over 101 °F (38.3 °C) in children
Low back pain or abdominal pain (especially below the belly button)
Unusually frequent urination or frequent urination during the night
Avoid giving your child bubble baths.
Have your child wear loose-fitting underpants and clothing.
Increase your child's intake of fluids.
Keep your child's genital area clean to prevent bacteria from entering through the urethra.
Teach your child to go the bathroom several times every day.
Teach your child to wipe the genital area from front to back to reduce the chance of spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra.
Long-term use of preventive (prophylactic) antibiotics may be recommended for some children who get repeated UTIs.
White B. Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infection in children. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83:409-415.
Williams G, Craig JC. Long-term antibiotics for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(3):CD001534.
Craig JC, Simpson JM, Williams GJ, et al. Antibiotic prophylaxis and recurrent urinary tract infection in children. N Engl J Med. 2009;361:1748-1759.
Skoog SJ, Peters CA, Arant BS Jr, et al. Pediatric Vesicoureteral Reflux Guidelines Panel summary report: clinical practice guidelines for screening siblings of children with vesicoureteral reflux and neonates/infants with prenatal hydronephrosis. J Urol. 2010;184:1145-1151.
Shaikh N, Morone NE, Lopez J, Chianese J, Sangvai S, D'Amico F, Hoberman A, Wald ER. Does this child have a urinary tract infection? JAMA. 2007;298:2895-2904.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.