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,”
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.