Chronic Kidney Disease in Children: Care Instructions

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Chronic kidney disease happens when the kidneys don't work as well as they should. The kidneys have a few important jobs. They remove waste from the blood. This waste leaves the body in the urine. They also balance the body's fluids and chemicals.

When the kidneys don't work well, extra waste and fluid can build up. This can poison the body. Without treatment, it could even cause death.

If your child takes medicine and makes healthy lifestyle changes, you may be able to prevent this disease from getting worse. But if the kidney damage gets worse, your child may need dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis uses a machine to filter waste from the blood. A transplant is surgery to give your child a healthy kidney from another person.

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 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

  • Be safe with medicines. Give your child medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if your child has any problems with the medicines.
  • If your child has diabetes, do your best to keep your child's blood sugar in the target range. Make sure your child takes their medicine, eats healthy foods, and gets some exercise.
  • 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 may make the disease worse.


  • Talk to a registered dietitian. A dietitian can help you make an eating plan with the right amounts of salt (sodium), potassium, and protein for your child. Your child may also need to limit how much fluid they drink each day.

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).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has much less urine than normal, or has no urine.
  • Your child is confused or cannot think clearly.
  • Your child has new or worse nausea or vomiting.
  • Your child has new or more blood in the urine.
  • Your child is dizzy or lightheaded, or feels like he or she may faint.
  • Your child has new swelling.

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

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.