Pediatric Catheters

Pediatric Catheters

Pediatric CathetersChildren who learn to perform intermittent self-catheterization are often able to lead normal, active lives.  Children as young as 4 or 5 years old can perform intermittent self-catheterization, provided they have good physical coordination and are taught how to perform self-catheterization.

Generally, a child should be catheterized every 3 to 4 hours.  However, it may be necessary to catheterize more often.  It is important to fully empty the bladder upon catheterization, and to catheterize regularly. 

It is a good idea to keep a supply of catheters at school or any place your child visits often.  It is also a good idea for a child to have a pouch or bag to carry catheter supplies for use throughout the day.  Pediatric catheters are available in a wide variety of types and brands.   

Pediatric Male Catheterization

Hold the penis upright so the urethra is straight, and not pinched.  Retract the foreskin if he is not circumcised.  Wash from the tip to the base of the glands.  Wash in a circular motion starting at the tip and working outward.  Never wash back and forth over the urethral opening.  Apply water soluble lubricant to the first three or four inches of the catheter.  Hold the penis up from the body at a 60 to 70 degree angle.  Slowly and gently insert the catheter into the urethra until urine begins to flow.  Then insert the catheter a little bit more until the urine flow stops.  Once the urine flow stops, slowly withdraw the catheter, slightly rotating the catheter.  If more urine flows, stop withdrawing the catheter and wait until the urine flow stops again.  It is very important to completely drain the bladder in order to reduce risk of urinary tract infection.

Pediatric Female Catheterization

With one hand, separate the labia and wash front to back with a moist towlette or warm soapy water.  Girls may want to use a mirror in the beginning to help find the urethra.  Apply a thin coat of water soluble lubricant to the first 2 inches or so of the catheter.  With one hand, separate the labia with the thumb and forefinger, and locate the opening to the urethra.  Slowly and gently have the child insert the catheter into the urethra until urine begins to flow.  Then insert it just a bit more until the urine flow stops.  Once the urine flow stops, slowly withdraw the catheter, slightly rotating the catheter.  If more urine flows, stop withdrawing the catheter and wait until the urine flow stops again.  It is very important to completely drain the bladder in order to reduce risk of urinary tract infection.

Signs of Urinary Tract Infection

If your child has any signs of urinary tract infection call your doctor or nurse immediately.  Signs of urinary tract infection include: urine is a different color than usual, has a foul odor or is cloudy, pain or burning while inserting the catheter or urinating, blood in urine, fever, chills or back pain, or unable to catheterize.  Children should drink (8) 8-ounce glasses of water a day to prevent urinary tract infection.  Never use a catheter that is rough, stiff, worn, discolored or damaged.