Risk factors for urinary tract infection in children: a population-based study of 2856 children

Premala Sureshkumar, Mike Jones, Robert G. Cumming, Jonathan C. Craig

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Aim:  To identify risk factors for urinary tract infection (UTI) in children to inform the development of preventative strategies.

Method:  A validated questionnaire covering demographic factors, perinatal, developmental, bowel and urinary history was sent to a cross‐sectional sample of parents of elementary school children randomly selected from the first 4 years of school. UTI was ascertained by parental report, verified by cross‐referencing with microbiological reports for all positive cases and 50 randomly selected negative cases.

Results:  Parents of 2856 children (mean age 7.3 years, range 4.8–12.8 years) responded. A total of 3.6% of children had a bacteriologically verified UTI, compared with 12.6% by parental report alone. Multivariate polychotomous logistic regression showed that a history of structural kidney abnormalities (odds ratio (OR) 15.7, 95% confidence interval 8.1–30.4), daytime incontinence (OR 2.6, 1.6–4.5), female gender (OR 2.4, 1.5–3.8), and encopresis (OR 1.9, 1.1–3.4) were independently associated with UTI. Daytime incontinence increased risk more in boys (8.3% vs. 1.2%) than girls (8.1% vs. 4.6%), and kidney problems increased risk in older compared with younger children (29% vs. 2% in ≥8 year olds, 0% vs. 4% in 4–6 year olds).

Conclusions:  Parents over‐report UTI by about threefold. Effective treatment of daytime urinary incontinence and encopresis may prevent UTI in children, especially boys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2009


  • questionnaire
  • risk factors
  • urinary tract infection


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