Back to School at
Home > Kids > Children's General Health > Childhood Illnesses > Bladder Infection in Young Child

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Bladder Infection in Young Child

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: How common are bladder infections in an 18-month-old female? What are some ways to prevent this type of infection?

A: Bladder infections (urinary tract infections) are not rare in young children. They can cause fever, vomiting, painful urination, and other symptoms. Most urine infections are caused by bacteria that are in the stool. Overall, girls have them more often than boys, most likely because the urethra (the tube that goes from the bladder to the outside) is so much shorter in girls.

It is important to follow up carefully once a child has had a urine infection, as repeated urine infections can cause damage to the kidneys. Most children who have a bladder infection are fine and have no underlying problem. Some children may have urinary reflux, in which the urine in the bladder backs up toward the kidney up the ureter when the child urinates. This makes a child more likely to have urinary infections. Children who have reflux usually take antibiotics on a regular basis in order to prevent further infections. They usually outgrow the reflux as they get older.

For children who are normal, good hygiene and drinking fluids regularly are the best preventive measures. For girls, always make sure that they are wiped from front to back (Meaning start where the urine comes out and wipe the cloth back to where the stool comes out). Don't wipe over the front again with the same cloth.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!