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Helping your child understand sickle cell disease can help them cope better with treatment. It is important to tell your child about their sickle cell disease. Answer their questions in honest, simple terms.
Talking with your child about sickle cell disease can be scary if you are not sure what to say. These tips can help you have important conversations.
Toddlers are learning about their body parts. They might not know about sickle cell disease yet. You can tell your child that they come to the hospital for checkups. You could say something like, “You go to the hospital for a checkup to see how your body is working.”
Children this age are beginning to understand more. You can tell them that they need checkups to see how their body is working. You can also explain these checkups are to help them stay healthy.
Many children are learning about cells at this age. They know that cells make up their bodies. You can use this to help your child understand sickle cell disease.
You might say something like this to explain sickle cell disease:
“Red blood cells are an important part of your blood. They carry oxygen through your body to give you energy. Red blood cells are round so they can move through your body and carry as much oxygen as possible. When you have sickle cell disease, some of the round red blood cells change into a banana shape. They cannot carry as much oxygen, and they can get stuck at different places in your body. This can hurt.”
Teens can often understand what the medical team is saying. It is important to include them in medical discussions. They can also learn the correct medical terms for their illness and treatment.
Talking with your child about their treatment can help them adjust to having sickle cell disease.
Your child’s care team can help with these conversations. They can help your child understand treatment and adjust to being in the hospital. They can also help you find ways to talk to your child and the right words to say.
Reviewed: August 2022