Feature Article

Urinary tract infection: management in children



© wrzesientomek/ istockphoto.com Model used for illustrative purposes only
© wrzesientomek/ istockphoto.com Model used for illustrative purposes only


Urinary tract infection (UTI) can be the cause of fever in children with nonspecific presentations and constitutes an emergency in very young and unwell children. Starting empirical antibiotic treatment and collecting a ‘clean’ urine specimen for culture are essential considerations. Management of bowel and bladder dysfunction and lifestyle changes are useful adjuncts for preventing recurrent UTIs in children.
A correction for this article will be published in the May 2021 issue of Medicine Today. The online version and the full text PDF of this article (see link above) have been corrected.

Key Points

  • Paediatric urinary tract infection (UTI) can be challenging to diagnose, especially in younger children, in whom symptoms are usually nonspecific.
  • Although urine dipstick is a useful screening test, a diagnosis can only be made with a urine culture from an uncontaminated specimen.
  • The risk of an underlying renal tract abnormality in children with UTI varies widely with age at presentation and sex.
  • Behavioural strategies and management of constipation can be vital in decreasing the risk of recurrent UTI in toilet-trained children.