Urinary tract infections in children: Are bubble baths a culprit?

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Urinary tract infections in children: Are bubble baths a culprit?

Question

Is it true that bubble baths cause urinary infections in children? My 3-year-old daughter loves bubble baths, but her doctor says we should avoid them until she is older.

Lindsay
Florida

Answer

Bubble baths can be associated with urinary tract infections in children, especially in girls.

The soap used in bubble bath irritates the urethra — the tube that empties urine from the bladder. This irritation may cause a burning sensation during urination. As a result, a child may hold in urine to avoid discomfort, which can lead to a urinary tract infection.

Urinary tract infections occur most often in girls because girls have a shorter urethra than do boys. A shorter urethra means bacteria have an easier time getting up into the bladder to cause infection.

So, even though your daughter loves bubble baths, it is best to avoid them until she is in her teens.

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