Symptoms of UTIs in children 

It can be difficult to tell whether a child has a urinary tract infection (UTI), because the symptoms can be vague and young children cannot easily communicate how they feel.

General signs that may suggest your child is unwell include:

  • a high temperature (fever)
  • vomiting
  • tiredness and lack of energy (lethargy)
  • irritability
  • poor feeding
  • not gaining weight properly
  • in very young children, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

More specific signs that your child may have a UTI include:

  • pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • needing to urinate frequently
  • deliberately holding in their urine
  • a change in their normal toilet habits, such as wetting themselves or wetting the bed
  • pain in their tummy (abdomen), side or lower back
  • unpleasant smelling urine
  • blood in their urine
  • cloudy urine

When to seek medical advice

If you think your child is unwell and could have a UTI, contact your GP as soon as possible.

Most UTIs in children are not a cause for serious concern, but it's important for them to be diagnosed and treated promptly to reduce the duration of infection and any risk of complications.

Read more about diagnosing UTIs in children.

Page last reviewed: 04/06/2014

Next review due: 04/06/2016