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Kidney Infection In Children


A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). A kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, is a bacterial infection. The infection usually starts in your child's bladder or urethra and moves into his or her kidney. One or both kidneys may be infected. Kidney infections are more common in children younger than 3 years.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child has increased pain in the abdomen, sides, or back.
  • Your child urinates very little or not at all.
  • Your child is vomiting.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's fever or chills return.
  • Your child is not getting better after 1 to 2 days of treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


  • Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Change your baby's diaper frequently. Bacteria from bowel movements can enter your baby's urinary tract.
  • Have your child empty his or her bladder often. Make sure your child urinates and empties his or her bladder as soon as needed. Teach your child not to hold urine for long periods of time.
  • Encourage your child to drink more liquids. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best. Your child may need to drink more liquids than usual to help flush out the bacteria. Do not let your child drink caffeine or citrus juices. These can irritate your child's bladder and increase symptoms. Ask your child's healthcare provider about giving your child cranberry juice. Cranberry juice can interfere with some medicines.
  • Teach your child to wipe from front to back. Your child should wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement. This will help prevent germs from getting into the urinary tract through the urethra.
  • Treat your child's constipation. This may lower his or her UTI risk. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to treat your child's constipation.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child may need more tests. He or she may be referred to a specialist. You may need instructions for bladder training your child. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.