Urinalysis for Kids – How At-Home Urine Testing Can Benefit Your Child’s Health

Elizebeth O’Neill
Elizebeth O’Neill
April 20, 2023
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Diagnox Staff
Urinalysis for Kids – How At-Home Urine Testing Can Benefit Your Child’s Health

Childhood is a period of growth during which a child's body and organ systems are still developing to their full function. A disorder in the early years of life has the potential to disrupt normal functioning and lead to lifelong problems. Complicating the matter further, many disorders remain undiagnosed and go untreated because children cannot communicate their symptoms.  

Fortunately, urine test strips can detect many metabolic, systematic, and urological conditions early. Your healthcare provider may recommend you to use urine test strips to detect possible problems with your child's kidneys and other organs. Urinalysis at home can help you find evidence of conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs), liver disorders, nephrotic syndrome, and inherited disorders before they advance.

A urinalysis with urine test strips is simple to perform, and you can learn to understand the results yourself. The child will still require a laboratory urinalysis under a microscope, but urine test strips will allow you to detect chemical abnormalities early and determine whether further testing is needed.

Collecting Urine for At-Home Urine Testing

In order to collect urine, younger children need a collection bag. These bags are secured around the urethra with adhesive and collect urine whenever your child passes it.

Older children can provide a mid-stream sample in a cup. Start by instructing your child to clean the area around the urinary opening. Your child should then pass some urine, stop, place the cup to catch the remaining urine, then continue passing urine. This is referred to as mid-stream urine and is generally recommended for urinalysis.

Chemical examination is done by placing a urine test strip coated in chemical patches into the urine sample. Changes in the color of these patches indicate the concentration of chemicals in the urine, and any deviations from the normal range can help detect possible abnormalities.

A dipstick urinalysis test is a quick and affordable way to check chemical properties of urine and identify potential abnormalities.

UTI Test Strips

UTIs are among the most frequent bacterial infections among children. UTIs are especially dangerous in children because they can affect the urinary tract and kidneys. If not treated quickly, the infection can spread in the body. Kidney infections can lead to kidney scarring, hypertension (high blood pressure), and end-stage kidney disease with renal failure.

Some common symptoms of a UTI are fever, vomiting, tiredness, frequent urination, and pain while passing urine.

An OTC UTI test strip has reagent pads that change color if abnormal levels of white blood cells and nitrite are present in the urine.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) UTI test strips are an excellent means to test possible urinary tract infections from the convenience of your home. OTC UTI test strips detect the presence of leukocytes (white blood cells) and nitrites in urine. Nitrite in the urine result due to the presence of nitrate-reducing pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract. Except for enterococci, almost all bacteria that cause UTIs produce this chemical. The presence of leukocytes in urine signifies an active immune response from the body trying to fight the infection.

You can use UTI test strips for a quick, convenient, and affordable way to check signs of inflammation and bacterial activity in the urinary tract. A positive dipstick test provides further evidence of a UTI, which your doctor will seek to confirm with other laboratory tests.

Once a UTI is detected with a urine test strip and confirmed by the laboratory test results, your doctor will ask for either a urine culture or urine PCR test to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection. Doing so will help the doctor identify which antibiotics would work best to fight the infection. In some cases, the doctor may also ask for ultrasound and other imaging tests to find any urinary system abnormalities that caused the UTI.

Protein Urine Test Strips

Protein is valuable for the proper functioning of the body, and the kidneys do not normally allow it to pass through into the urine. Pediatric proteinuria, which is an excessive amount of protein in a child's urine, can be a benign or severe underlying condition. Chronic proteinuria in children (as well as in adults) often indicates significant kidney disease, most commonly minimal change disease, nephrotic syndrome, or both.

Nephrotic syndrome is a condition in which excess protein is lost through the urine. It reduces the protein level in your child's blood, leading to swelling (called edema), usually around the eyes and on the feet. Antibodies, a specialized category of protein that helps defend the body against infections, are also lost through the urine. As a result, your child may have frequent infections.

Protein urine test strips change color when your child's urine has protein in it. If your child's urine has excessive protein in it, call your doctor. Your doctor will diagnose these conditions with a test at a laboratory. Throughout treatment, you can use at-home urine protein test strips to assess response to treatment and detect remission. After completion of treatment, your doctor may recommend that you continue testing your child's urine with urine test strips in case of a relapse.

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Urine Blood Test Strips

Blood in a child's urine can be alarming. Many disorders, like UTIs, kidney stones, injuries, genetic conditions, cancer, inflammatory kidney diseases, and others, can cause the excretion of blood in the urine. The blood can come from the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, or urethra.

Blood loss through urine is called hematuria, and it can be visible or invisible to the naked eye. When the blood is not visible, the condition is called microscopic hematuria, and the blood can only be detected under a microscope or by sensitive chemical testing. Visible blood in the urine is called gross hematuria and can turn the urine red, pink, or cola-colored.

Red-colored urine can be the result of eating beets or some food with coloring agents. Even in the case of color change in your child's urine, you should use a urine blood test strip to confirm that the discoloration is due to blood. If the test shows pediatric urinalysis normal values, the discoloration is likely due to food.

If you detect blood in your child's urine by testing at home, consult your doctor. They will confirm the actual presence of blood by laboratory testing and then investigate to find the cause.

Urine Glucose Test Strips

When blood sugar levels are normal, no glucose is excreted in the urine. However, if a child has diabetes mellitus, glucose may appear in their urine. This often occurs when there is an abnormally high level of glucose in the bloodstream that will cause kidneys to excrete it in the urine. Glucose in urine is called glucosuria, and it is not a normal finding.

Urine glucose test strips can help detect glucosuria. The reagent pad on the test strip changes color depending on the amount of glucose in the urine. They're used to detect diabetes and to assess the adequacy of treatment. Consult with a doctor for further testing if your child's urine glucose test strip indicates a positive or high level of glucose.

Home Urinalysis Essentials

Pediatric urinalysis normal values may differ somewhat from adult urinalysis typical values, but understanding the differences between normal and abnormal values will equip you to understand your child's health better. Always consult your child's doctor if a urine test strip detects protein, blood, glucose, nitrites, or leukocyte esterase.

Easy-to-use urine test strips like Urinox-10 can check as many as ten different parameters in your child's urine, including the presence of urobilinogen, nitrite, protein, blood, bilirubin, ketones, and glucose. These tests help detect UTIs and disorders of the kidneys, liver, and endocrine organs. You can further use urine test strips to monitor the response to treatment and to detect relapses.

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics: Hematuria (Blood in Urine).
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Urinalysis and Urine Culture.
  3. Deutsches Arzteblatt International: Urinalysis in children and adolescents.
  4. National Health Service: Nephrotic syndrome in children.
  5. Nemours Children's Health: Urine Tests.
  6. Recent Patents on Inflammation & Allergy Drug Discovery: Urinary Tract Infection in Children.
About the Author
Elizebeth O’Neill

Elizabeth O’Neill is a highly experienced nursing professional with a passion for educating others about important health issues. With a degree in nursing and extensive experience in the medical field, she has dedicated her career to helping others live their best, healthiest lives.

In her current role as a medical content writer for Diagnox, Elizabeth is able to utilize her knowledge and experience to inform and educate consumers on the importance of proactive screening and overall health. She is particularly passionate about women's health issues, and loves working with Diagnox to spread awareness about these important topics.

Throughout her career, Elizabeth has consistently demonstrated her dedication to helping others and improving the health of her community. She is highly respected by her colleagues and is known for her professionalism, compassion, and expertise. Whether she is working directly with patients or writing articles to educate the public, Elizabeth is always focused on making a positive impact on the lives of others.

About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Diagnox Staff

Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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