5 Questions About Caring for Kids With Heart Conditions

Doctor walking with patient in hospital corridor, girl (10-12) wearing dressing gown, smilingReceiving a diagnosis that your child has a congenital heart defect or other pediatric cardiology condition immediately leads to a lot of urgent questions. This is a normal response, and your child’s cardiologist can help to answer any question you may have.

Here are five questions that parents often ask when they learn their child has a heart condition.

1. How Will It Affect My Child’s Development?

Although small children with congenital heart disease may be slower to develop some physical skills and abilities, their mental development is no different than other children their age. Most children with congenital heart problems are able to attend regular daycare and schools, though staff should be aware of their condition.

2. How Will It Affect Physical Activity?

In most cases, your child can monitor their own physical activity unless they are taking a blood-thinning medication such as warfarin. In those cases, contact sports should be avoided.

Children with congenital heart disease may tire and become breathless more quickly when playing in cold weather, so they may need to rest in a warm place during breaks.

3. Is a Special Diet Necessary?

Special diets are not generally needed for children with congenital heart disease, though they are encouraged to take in extra calories.

4. Is It Safe to Take My Child on a Vacation?

Depending on your destination, taking a child with congenital heart disease on a trip is not usually a problem. Plan well ahead and stay extra organized to ensure that your child’s needs will be able to be met.

5. Can a Child With Congenital Heart Disease Travel at High Altitudes?

Children with congenital heart disease are generally able to travel on jet airplanes without issue. To be sure, ask your child’s doctor or pediatric cardiology team members.