Parents who have dealt with their child’s sporadic and sometimes unruly bladder may become pretty familiar with the smells and fragrances of said excretions. Yet if something does smell a little off with your little one’s diaper, a dash to the emergency room raving about a possible UTI isn’t really the best course of action. In fact, researchers now say that a fever is more indicative of such a condition than an “offensive” smell.
A study of 331 children aged one year to 36 months revealed that a mere whiff of smelly urine is not all that reliable. Of the children who were diagnosed with a UTI (about 15% in the group), 57% of those parents said that their child had smelly pee two days prior to taking them to the emergency room. Of the children who didn’t have UTIs, 32% also reported an off odor.
Although “stinky urine” is a noted link to a UTI, doctors confirm that it is not a prerequisite to the infection:
“It is associated with a urine infection, but the association isn’t that strong,” [Dr. Marie] Gauthier told Reuters Health. “To have stinky urine in itself isn’t proof of urine infection. Not at all.”
Although smelly diapers should definitely be checked out by a doctor, there is little reason to start counting your UTIs before they’re diagnosed.