Children & Families

Children & Families

Participant Information

Are you interested in participating in CALIPER?

There are many sick children across Canada and around the world. CALIPER offers one way for you to provide your support. By donating a small blood sample to the CALIPER program, you’ll be helping doctors worldwide diagnose and treat sick children.

For more information on participating in CALIPER, please see the information below or get in touch with our team today!

Who can participate?

Inclusion criteria

  • Healthy children (determined based on questionnaire responses)
  • Children who are 0 to 18 years old

Who cannot participate?

Exclusion criteria

  • Children with a history of chronic illness or metabolic disease
  • Children who have had an acute illness within the past month
  • Children who have taken prescribed medication in the past month

What does participation involve?

Participant FAQs

CALIPER aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children across Canada by determining what is normal and healthy when a child is screened for a disease. Our research is used by doctors in order to compare healthy and normal blood levels to those of their sick patients. 

In a case where we find something of concern or abnormal with your child’s blood, we’ll contact your family physician. They’ll be able to share that information with you and choose the appropriate action from there. 

This can vary with each child. Some say it feels like a mosquito bite, and others compare it to a pinch. We use a needle called the butterfly needle, which are used on babies being treated in hospitals. It’s the smallest type of needle used for giving blood. 

The amount of blood varies with age but ranges from 1mL (newborns and infants) to 11mL (11-18 years of age). Generally, it’s approximately a tablespoon of blood. 

So far, we test for over 185 levels within the blood. This includes hormones, vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids and more. These levels ultimately look at serum chemistry, enzymes, proteins, and lipid analytes. 

This is an ongoing project that is growing throughout Canada. Since we’re trying to obtain a true representative of the Canadian youth population, continuing to build on our database will only increase the accuracy of our results. 

Yes! We’re happy to accommodate any child who wishes to donate. However, their blood may not be used towards our paediatric reference database since it is not “normal”, but may be used in future tests to help other children with illnesses. 

We have fully trained phlebotomists who are a part of the CALIPER team and employed by SickKids that draw the blood. They’re experienced with children and are top professionals in their field. 

Our database is accessible to everyone! You can access the database here. 

Not likely. Most children feel fine after donating, since it is a small amount that’s taken. However, some children may feel anxious, scared and nervous, and sometimes feel faint or nauseous after donating. These symptoms typically last just a few minutes. Generally, children are able to return to their normal daily activities since there is no rest period required after donating. 

Of course! They can withdraw from participating at any time – and they’ll still receive their gifts for being brave enough for trying! 

Yes, all data will be confidential and any results published are anonymous. 

The whole process typically takes about 10 minutes. However, the needle is only in the child for about 30 seconds to a minute.

No! In fact, we recommend they eat substantial amount of food, juices and water prior to donating. No fasting is necessary. 

Do you have more questions?

Contact us