Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are painful infections of the bladder, urethra, ureters or kidneys. Mild infections can be treated at home, but you should always seek the advice of a doctor in the case of a child, because an infection that spreads to the kidneys can cause permanent damage.
Attacking the Infection
To get rid of an infection caused by bacteria in the urinary tract, your child should drink or eat something that will kill the bacteria. However, you want to make sure that whatever the child drinks is gentle on the rest of her body. With all of these treatments, you should give your child plenty of water to drink to dilute the urine and help flush out bacteria.
The first method is to give your child a 1/2 tsp. of baking soda in a full glass of water. The baking soda will help kill the bacteria in the urinary tract. This solution is gentle on a child's stomach, and he probably won't taste the small amount of baking soda in the water. However, it will probably take several glasses of this solution to kill the majority of the bacteria.
Perhaps the most popular solution for getting rid of a UTI is drinking cranberry juice. It is true that the acidity of cranberry juice will kill the bacteria in the urinary tract, but it takes quite a bit of juice to do this. The concern is that most cranberry juices that children like to drink are actually juice cocktails, which contain enormous amounts of sugar. If you give your child too much juice cocktail, the sugar content may actually do more harm than good. However, most children will not voluntarily drink the unsweetened version of cranberry juice. So while this may be the most popular solution, it is often not the best for children.
Yogurt is another way to get rid your child's infection. The cultures in yogurt will help fight the bacteria in the urinary tract and restore normal urinary function. Make sure the yogurt you purchase contains live or active cultures and that it is low in sugar. Unlike low-sugar cranberry juice, most children will eat yogurt that is low in sugar because the fruit in it sweetens it naturally.
While you're helping your child's body attack the infection, it is likely she will still experience such unpleasant symptoms as abdominal pain and painful and frequent urination. Have your child wear loose-fitting, comfortable pants, such as sweats or pajamas, while he is experiencing symptoms. Tight pants increase pain and may actually slow healing.
To ease abdominal pain, place a hot water bottle or hot compress on your child's lower abdomen. This relaxes the muscles, which also may help ease pain while urinating. You also can rub tea tree, frankincense or juniper essential oils on your child's lower abdomen to achieve the same muscle relaxation effect.
Let your child rest while her body is fighting the infection, especially if she is experiencing a low fever. Make her as comfortable as possible. With proper treatment, UTI symptoms should subside within a day or two.