1. You should know that anxiety makes pain worse
I want to differentiate your holding her for comfort from holding her down for the blood draw. Parents should not hold kids down for medical procedures; it destroys the child’s trust in the parent.
If she is so frightened she needs to be held down, I would bring her back alone another day, after you’ve read a lot of books and practiced a lot with a doctor kit. If she still needs to be held down then, it’s the job of the medical staff. All kids do better if they are prepared, but the trick is for that preparation to reduce kids’ anxiety, not increase it. Usually the best way is to read some books about doctor visits and talk about how they keep us healthy.
Explain that sometimes paint dust in an old house gets into our body and isn’t good for us,and looking at our blood will help the doctors evaluate that and keep them healthy.
- Tell your child what will happen. Use short, simple words that your child knows.
- Be honest about what will happen and what may hurt.
- Bring quiet toys or activities from home.
- Stay calm for your child. If you act scared, your child will likely do the same.
- Another idea for young kids is to sing a song during your child’s test.
Tell your kids that the blood draw will be an ouchie, but the numbing cream will make it a small ouchie, which will stop hurting very quickly.
Tell them that you have had blood drawn and it did hurt but only for a minute and you were just fine. Tell them it’s ok to cry but they need to sit very still and you will hold them and they can squeeze your hand as hard as they need to.Courtney Warren
2. Warmth makes veins come to the surface
Because children’s veins are smaller and the amount of blood withdrawn needs to be carefully monitored, pediatric patients are treated with special care during their blood draws. A more experienced technician is usually involved and helped by an assistant. For children older than two years of age, a vein in the crook of the elbow is a site that is commonly used. Here are some tips that can help.
- Determine if the child wants to participate
- Stay with Your Child
- Count to 3 and blow the feeling away
- Don’t Expect Just a Fingerstick
2.1 Prepare Them for the “Ouch”
Tell the child that it will hurt a little bit, but it will be over very quickly and then the hurt will go away. Before you enter the room, talk about who the child will see (some people in uniforms).
It is okay to tell children that having blood drawn is difficult even for grownups, but avoid coaxing the child with statements such as “be good” that can make the child feel ashamed.