It is important to find out if your child has a UTI quickly, so it can be treated.


Your doctor will talk to you or your child about your child’s symptoms and examine him or her.

Risk factors

Children with abnormal urinary tracts are at higher risk of getting UTIs. Tell your doctor if your child has:

  • any problems when passing urine, or a poor urine flow
  • fever (temperature over 38ºC) that keeps coming back
  • abnormalities of one or both kidneys found before or at birth
  • a family history of vesicoureteral reflux or kidney disease
  • constipation (difficulties doing a poo)
  • history of bladder dysfunction (the bladder does not completely empty when passing urine), such as neuropathic bladder
  • an injury in the spine (backbone)
  • poor growth
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)

Urine test

Getting a urine sample

Your child’s doctor or nurse will give you a sterile (completely clean) container to get a small amount of urine. You may need to do this at the clinic, or take the container home and bring it back. 

When getting a urine sample, it is important to make sure it is not contaminated - this means that there is no dirt or bacteria (germs) in the urine sample.

Testing urine

Your doctor or nurse will dip a piece of paper called a dipstick into the urine. The dipstick is a strip with chemical pads that change colour depending on what substances are in the urine. The sample may also be sent to a laboratory for more accurate tests.

Getting a urine sample from a child

To help make sure the urine sample does not have any bacteria that may be on your or your child’s skin, you will need to get a mid-stream sample. This is from the middle part of the urine flow.

  • Your child should start weeing into a toilet bowl or potty.
  • After one or two seconds, catch some of the urine directly into the container.
  • Take the container away before your child stops urinating.
  • Screw the lid on tight.

Getting a urine sample from a teenage girl

Teenage girls need to be especially careful when getting a mid-stream sample.

  • Your daughter should wash her hands and her genitals, and dry with a clean towel.
  • She should sit on the toilet with her legs wide apart.
  • Before weeing she should separate her labia – these are the pieces of skin around her genitals.

Getting a urine sample from a baby or young child

The best way is usually the clean catch method. The urine is less likely to be contaminated than other methods. You will need to wait up to an hour for your child to wee and catch it in a container. Good times are after a bottle feed, during a nappy change, or before a bath.

Read more about how urine is tested

Urine microscopy

In some hospitals the urine will be examined under a microscope. This gives immediate information, and also helps find out if the sample is contaminated by germs from the skin. If that happens, you may need to get a new urine sample.

Other tests

Some children will need more tests to help find out what is causing the UTI if they have recurrent UTIs (that keep coming back) or if the infection has passed to your child’s kidneys.

Imaging tests

Some children need imaging tests. These use special scanners that get images (pictures) of the inside of their body

Read more about imaging tests for UTI

Ultrasound scan – looks at the shape and size of the kidneys and other parts of the urinary system. A small handheld device is moved around your child’s skin and uses sound waves to create an image on a screen.

MCUG (sometimes called a VCUG) – checks for vesicoureteral reflux, when urine goes back up the wrong way. A special dye is put into the bladder using a long thin tube through the urethra. A series of X-ray images are taken while your child passes urine.

MAG3 – shows whether blood is going in and of the kidneys, and whether your child is passing urine normally. A chemical that gives out a small amount of radiation (energy) is injected into one of your child’s blood vessels, and a special camera takes pictures.

DMSA – looks at the kidneys to check whether it is normal or has any damage. A chemical that gives out a small amount of radiation (energy) is injected into one of your child’s blood vessels, and a special camera takes pictures.

Blood tests

Your doctor may arrange a blood test if he or she is concerned about your child’s health, for example if your child is very dehydrated (when there is not enough water in the body), or if there may be a blockage or reflux. The blood test results can give the doctor more information, including the kidney function (how well the kidneys are working) and whether your child has had a recent infection. A small amount of blood is taken from a vein, with a needle and syringe. Special gel or cream can be used to help your child stop feeling any pain.

Questions to ask the doctor or nurse

  • What other tests will my child need?
  • How do I help prepare my child for the tests? What can I do to make them more comfortable?
  • Why does my child have a UTI?
  • How will you know if my child has an underlying condition that is causing the UTI? How can I get more information about that condition?

More information

  • Urine tests

    Your child may have urine tests at the clinic or hospital to help diagnose a condition or find out how well a treatment is working.

  • Blood tests

    In a blood test, a small sample of your child’s blood will be taken from the body, using a needle. This sample will be looked at by specialists in a laboratory.

  • Ultrasound scan

    Uses sound waves to look at the inside of the body, such as the kidneys and other parts of the urinary system.