Kidney shields are custom made to protect your child’s kidneys during sports and activities. They can be used for healthy kidneys or a new transplanted kidney.
If your child wants to play sports, talk to their health care provider about the need for a kidney shield and to review all safety concerns. They will talk to you about the risks and benefits of your child taking part in sports. They can also give you a letter of medical clearance for a smooth transition into sports or other activities. Some coaches or schools may require one.
Wearing the Shield
Since the kidney shield provides an extra layer of protection, we recommend that your child wear the shield when taking part in any activities in which they could fall or get a blow to the abdomen (belly). This includes strenuous exercise, sports, physical activity and activities with an increased risk of impact. If you are not sure when your child should wear the kidney shield, talk to the health care team.
Care and Cleaning
- Keep the plastic piece of the shield away from heat. This includes open flames, hot water or leaving it in the car. The plastic will melt and lose the custom fit.
- Wash the belt by hand or use a gentle setting on your washing machine. If using a washing machine, place the belt in a mesh bag so the Velcro® pieces do not damage other items in the wash. Before washing the belt, remove the plastic piece to make sure the plastic does not melt in the hot water.
- Lay the belt flat on a towel to dry overnight. This preserves the elastic in the belt. Do not put the belt in the dryer. This will harm the elastic and cause it to stretch.
Once the shield is molded for your child, there is no need for a return visit unless you have a concern about the fit or your child outgrows their shield. If you have a concern about the fit, call us to make a short appointment so we can adjust the shield.
If your child outgrows their shield, contact your child’s health care provider. They can make a request for the therapist to fit your child with a new kidney shield.
Signs your child has outgrown their kidney shield include:
- new areas of redness after your child wears the shield for a normal amount of time
- redness or marks that do not go away after 20 to 30 minutes
- belt no longer fastens
- protective shield no longer fully covers the transplanted kidney
If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, call the Physical and Occupational Therapy Department at 614-355-1381.
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