Kidney Stone Prevention In Children: Tips For Parents And Caregivers

by Tanya June 21, 2024

Dealing with kidney stones can be a painful experience for anyone, especially for children.

As a parent or caregiver, understanding how to prevent these stones can make a significant difference in your child’s health and well-being.

Here are practical tips to help keep your child’s kidneys clear and functioning well.

What causes kidney stones

Kidney stones form when substances such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus in the urine become highly concentrated.

In children, this can happen due to various reasons including dehydration, certain dietary habits, and genetic predisposition. 

By recognising these triggers, you can take proactive steps to prevent the formation of stones.

Encourage plenty of fluids

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent kidney stones is to ensure your child stays well-hydrated. Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. 

Water is best, but you can also include other fluids like coconut water or natural fruit juices, which don’t have added sugars.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 6-8 glasses of water a day, depending on your child’s age and activity level.

Monitor salt and protein intake

Too much salt in the diet can increase the risk of developing kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in the urine.

Teach your child the importance of moderating salt intake.

This doesn’t just mean adding less salt to their food – it’s also about being mindful of high-sodium processed foods and snacks.

Similarly, excessive protein can lead to an increase in kidney stone formation, especially from animal sources.

Encourage a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein sources, including plant-based options like lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa.

Increase dietary calcium

It might seem counterintuitive, but adequate calcium intake is crucial in preventing certain types of kidney stones. Without enough calcium, oxalate levels rise and are more likely to contribute to stone formation. 

Include calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, and green leafy vegetables in your child’s diet.

Opt for low-fat dairy options to provide the necessary nutrients without excessive fat.

Limit oxalate-rich foods

In some children, especially those who are prone to forming calcium oxalate stones, limiting oxalate-rich foods can help.

Foods high in oxalates include spinach, rhubarb, nuts, and wheat bran.

Don’t remove these foods from their diet entirely without consulting a healthcare provider, as they are also rich in other important nutrients.

Regular check-ups are key

Regular visits to a healthcare provider are essential, especially if your child has had kidney stones before or if there’s a family history of the condition.

Sometimes, a doctor might recommend a procedure like the ESWL procedure to break up existing stones non-invasively.

Monitoring your child’s health regularly helps catch potential problems early and can guide adjustments in diet or hydration habits.

Foster healthy habits early

Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices from a young age sets the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

Teach your child the importance of physical activity, balanced eating, and regular hydration. Making these practices a family affair not only supports your child but also creates a supportive environment for everyone’s health.

By adopting these practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of kidney stones in your child.

These tips are not just preventive measures but are part of fostering a healthy lifestyle that will benefit your child well into the future.

Stay proactive and supportive, and your child will have the best chance of staying free from kidney stones.

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