HoG Handbook

When a Young Child with Hemophilia Needs Factor


young childWhen your young child has to get factor, you may find it hard to control some of your feelings in front of them. Treatments may make you feel nervous or afraid. If your child cries when getting factor, you may feel guilty. This is the time to remind yourself that your child needs your calm support. If you become upset, they will feel upset too.

If you are calm and in control when your child is treated, they will be reassured that they can do this. The next time factor is needed, there will be less worry. Try not to feel guilty if your child cries. Remind yourself that the small hurt from the needle is minimal compared to the pain and discomfort your child would feel if the bleed were not treated.

Small children need simple reasons for having to take factor. Get your child involved in their own treatment as early as possible. Even very young children can do simple jobs such as arranging the supplies or putting on the band-aid. As your child gets older, increase their part in their treatment. This will encourage them to self-infuse (administer factor/medication) or treat bleeds in other ways when ready. It is best to begin self-infusing at age eight or nine.

Start teaching your child early to recognize signs of bleeding and to tell you about them. Some children hope the bleeding will stop and don't tell their parents. Children may avoid taking time out from playing to address a bleed. Most children who think they have caused a bleed by doing something they should not have been doing will wait until the last minute to tell you. Teach your child that bleeds are not their fault. Help them see it is better to tell you about them right away.

It is normal for a child to be unhappy about having a bleeding disorder. Children do not want to have bleeds and have to treat them. They do not want to be different from their friends. You can expect your child to have ups and downs as they adjust to having a bleeding disorder. If you think they are not adjusting well or if their behavior makes a change for the worse, you may need some expert help. Your child's school or your HTC can refer you to a counselor trained to work with children.