Preparing your child for a blood draw can add stress to your day from the start.
After a super stressful week, I’m looking forward to some much-needed family time at the end of this one. We started what might be a marathon to find out if my daughter has a pediatric autoimmune disease. Time to search for a few ideas on “Preparing your child for a blood draw.”
Many children need blood drawn for one reason or another.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to preparing your child for a blood draw. I’m going to highlight some ideas for you to consider and I encourage you to take into consideration your child’s personality and what they respond best to when deciding how much or how little of this idea you put into play.
Tip #1: make sure your child is well hydrated.
Do your child and his or her veins a favor. Hydrate. Part of Preparing your child for a blood draw is intentionally drinkings lots of water.
Tip #2: the magic patch.
At our appointment Tuesday, I learned of something the nurse called “a magic patch.”
Now, my daughter does NOT do well with needles. We are a pro-vaccination family, and we follow the CDC recommendation for timing of vaccines; we do not delay. My 5-year-old has had her share of shots. She’s not a fan.
When it was time to draw blood, the nurse came in to offer this magic patch. I’d never heard of it. She said it would take 30 minutes to work its magic but that it would numb the site and the child feels nothing. Zero. Nada.
I was a total skeptic, but I turned to my daughter and said, “Kaylee, you have a choice. You can choose to try this magic patch, but we will have to wait for her quite a while for it to work. Or, we can have the blood drawn without it right now and leave right away. It will pinch but it will be quick, and then we will be all done.”
She chose the patch. Here is a picture of the nurse putting it on.
Oh, my! This little girl of mine watched them put the needle in her arm and draw two vials of blood. Not a single tear. She was like, “Wow, that was amazing.”
I said, “Could you feel anything at all?” She said, “No, mommy, I didn’t feel anything at all.”
I came home and tried to find information about it. It’s basically a big band-aid with numbing cream. You can buy and apply it yourself at least 30 minutes before the blood draw.
So, if you ever find yourself in need of a blood draw, especially if you have a child like mine, terrified of needles, ask the doctor/nurse/office /lab if they have this EMLA patch. It’s seriously magic!
Tip #3: prepare your child for what’s coming.
This is a tricky one. I personally believe part of preparing your child for a blood draw includes letting them know ahead of time. How long before the procedure you tell them, depends on the child. For some children, less is more. Age matters, too.
Be matter of fact when you tell them what to expect. The conversation I have with my current 5-year-old daughter goes something like this: “Today one of the nurses is going to have to take some blood. You’ve experienced needles before and while they don’t feel good, we know it’s a pretty quick pinch and it’s over within moments.”