- Start preventive care as soon as your child is diagnosed, even if your child isn’t yet having symptoms.
- Find a qualified, patient-centered sickle cell care center to serve as a "medical home" for your child.
- To reduce the risk of dangerous infections, your child should be receiving penicillin from the age of 2 months until at least 5 years old. Some children need it longer – or even throughout their lives.
- Starting at 2 to 3 years of age and continuing until age 16, your child should get an annual transcranial Doppler test to assess stroke risk. Also, consider an MRI for your child beginning at age 5.
- Seek medical attention promptly for symptoms such as fever and pain. They can indicate a serious problem.
- Learn how to feel your child’s spleen for enlargement, and check it regularly.
- Make sure your child always stays hydrated.
- Make sure your child eats a healthy diet.
- Stay up to date on your child’s immunizations.
- Make sure your child takes all medications as prescribed.
- Protect your child from exposure to extreme temperatures. For example, dress your child extra warmly on cold days.
- Ensure your child receives proper medical attention at school and has a safe learning environment.
Raising a Child with Sickle Cell Disease: Tips for Parents
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your child's doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your child's provider.