Labs that draw blood
General member advice about blood draws with baby/toddler/child:
- Call ahead to find out when the lab tech who is trained in pediatric blood draws will be on site
- if possible, go in the morning first thing. Push lots of fluids in the morning at wake up before your visit
Leading up to your appointment:
- If you can, take your child to one of your blood draws and be a good role model.
- Practice by playing "take the blood."
- "Doing the rehearsing at home really helps!"
- Do lots of mental prep leading up to the visit! There’s a Daniel Tiger episode about getting a shot that’s super helpful and talks about what to do if you feel scared. I recommend watching it and then practicing with a comfort object/stuffed animal a bunch of times. Then bring said stuffed animal/doll with you to the appointment. It can be helpful for managing fear and also, the animal/doll can get a shot first and model being brave. We talked a lot about what you can do if you feel scared and that being brave means you sometimes have to feel scared first.
Day of the appointment:
- If you drink water beforehand (lots) it makes the vein easier to find.
During the appointment:
- Use cream (e.g., EMLA, Lidocaine, or Amethocaine) in order to make blood draws less painful. It's numbing cream which needs to be applied 45 mins beforehand and covered to keep the cream in place. Put it on BOTH arms (in case one arm doesn't work).
- Distract if possible.
- Show a video, show stickers they'll get when it's all done, anything that they have to stay still for but keeps their mind off the procedure.
- Stay calm as a parent. If you are tense, they will be more tense.
- A calm parent makes for a calmer child. If you can make it seems like it’s okay, speak in a comforting voice (to your child and the technician as well) your child will be less likely to get freaked out.
- Sometimes the fear is worse than the experience.
- Frame it as "a part of life to stay healthy." Don’t make it into a drama.
- Finally, just be prepared that he might be scared and freaked out the whole time but it only lasts a minute and you’ll be holding him which is a huge comfort. And there’s stickers after!! Good luck!
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