Information for Parents

The voluntary act of blood donation serves an important need in the community. It is also a valuable experience of giving back for young adults. If your son or daughter is considering donating blood, please see the Student's Guide to Blood Donation. If you have questions, please contact your local Red Cross.

Here are some frequently asked questions on blood donation:

Information for Parents about blood donation

Is it safe?

Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded. Specially trained staff are available at each blood drive and details of each donor's health and activities are discussed in a confidential setting prior to blood donation to determine eligibility.

What happens on the day of the donation?

Please see this video or read a description of the blood donation process.

Is every donation tested?

Every donation is tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as well as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. In the rare case that any test result suggests that your son or daughter may have an infectious disease or is disqualified from donating blood in the future, your son or daughter will be notified directly.  Read more about testing of donated blood »

How confidential is the process?

The Red Cross maintains the confidentiality of information we obtain about a donor and will release a donor’s confidential information to his or her parents only with the donor’s consent.

16 Year Old Donors

Some states allow 16-year-olds to donate blood with parental consent. If your state allows 16-year-olds to donate with parental consent, then your student will need to bring the signed form to his or her blood donation appointment.

Learn more about blood donations for 16-year-olds and download the required form »

How can I prepare my child for his or her donation?

Prior to your student’s blood donation, encourage him or her to:

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep the night before their blood donation.

  • Drink plenty of water prior to the donation and bring water to the donation.

  • Eat a healthy meal prior to the donation (preferably with iron-rich foods such as raisins, fish, poultry, etc.).

  • Wear clothing with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow.

  • Bring a blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of ID.

  • Bring a list of medications he/she is currently taking.

  • Consider bringing a book or music to enjoy during the donation process.

  • Contact us to reschedule if he/she is not feeling well on the day of the donation.

prepare you child for blood donation

students need to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before their blood donation

What happens after the donation?

Most donors have uneventful donations and feel fine afterwards. However, occasionally a donor may become lightheaded or dizzy during or after the donation or may faint or experience other injury. Young, first-time and/or low weight (less than 130 lbs.) donors are more likely to experience reactions than other donors. Red Cross staff members are trained to recognize and treat complications resulting from blood donation. 

Thank You

Thank you for supporting your son or daughter’s interest in blood donation. Every two seconds someone needs blood – blood that can only come from volunteer blood donors. Blood donors help save millions of lives each year.