Kidney Lesson for Kids: Function & Facts

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  • 0:03 What Are Kidneys?
  • 0:39 What Do Kidneys Do?
  • 1:13 Filtering Waste Products
  • 2:12 Maintaining Body Fluid Levels
  • 2:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Torrens

Rachel is a Nurse Practitioner with experience working as a high school teacher, skin surgery center, and as a family NP.

Your kidneys are a pair of organs that are critical to helping your body work properly. In this lesson, learn more about kidneys, their structure and what they do.

What Are Kidneys?

Chances are, you've heard the word 'kidney' before, and you probably already know the shape of one. You know those big red beans often found in chili? Well, those are called kidney beans because their shape is almost the same as an actual kidney.

Real kidneys are organs, not beans, and they are extremely important in maintaining a healthy body! You have two kidneys, one located on each side of your spine, right below your lowest rib. The kidneys face one another and look kind of like a pair of parentheses. When you are an adult, each kidney is about 3 inches wide and 5 inches long. That's roughly the size of a smartphone.

What Do Kidneys Do?

Kidneys have many functions, but there are four that are the most important. For one, your kidneys help to make new red blood cells. These organs release a hormone that helps your body create red blood cells, which are essential for delivering oxygen to other organs. Second, the kidneys help make your bones stronger by working to maintain healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus, both of which make for strong bones.

In addition to these functions, perhaps the most important jobs of the kidneys are filtering harmful products from your blood and balancing your body's fluids. Let's talk about these functions in more detail.

Filtering Waste Products

The kidneys filter waste products out of your blood. After all, the blood carries all sorts of things to be used by your body: hormones, electrolytes, oxygen, and more. When your body uses these materials, it produces waste products that your body can no longer use. It's the kidneys' job to get rid of these wastes.

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