Chronic Kidney Disease in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Chronic kidney disease happens when the kidneys cannot remove waste and keep the body's fluids and chemicals in balance. Normally, the kidneys remove waste from the blood. The waste then leaves the body in the urine. The kidneys also balance the fluids in the body. When the kidneys are not working well, waste and excess fluid can build up so much that it can poison the body. This can be life-threatening.

You may be able to keep your child's kidney damage from getting worse by making sure your child takes any prescribed medicine and making lifestyle changes. If the condition gets worse, your child may need to use a machine or other method to filter waste. This is called dialysis. It is possible that your child may need a kidney transplant.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

Treatments and appointments

  • Give your child medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems with the medicines.
  • If your child has diabetes, help keep your child's blood sugar in his or her target range with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medicine.
  • Make sure your child goes to dialysis appointments if needed.
  • Do not give your child ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or similar medicines, unless your doctor tells you to. These medicines may make chronic kidney disease worse.


  • Talk to a nutritionist or dietitian to help you make a meal plan that is right for your child. Most people with chronic kidney disease need to limit salt (sodium), fluids, and protein. Some also have to limit potassium and phosphorus.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child is confused or is having trouble thinking clearly.
  • Your child has new or worse trouble breathing.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child has new swelling in his or her arms or feet, or the swelling is worse.
  • Your child has other new symptoms, such as blood in the urine or less urine than normal, feeling more tired, light-headed, or thirsty than usual.
  • Your child is nauseated or vomiting.
  • Your child has blood in her or his urine.
  • Your child has any problems with medicine or other treatment.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: November 20, 2015