Patients & Families

Before Your Visit

Helping Your Child During Medical Care

Give your child choices whenever possible. 

"Which arm do you want the doctor to check first before they place your I.V.?" "Do you want some EMLA cream on your arm so you can feel more comfortable while they place the I.V.?" "Do you like to watch what the doctor is doing or would you rather look away?" "Do you want liquid medicine or tablets?"

Be honest. 

"The best way for your body to get the medicine is directly into your arm so it can travel throughout your body quickly."  

Don't make promises you can't uphold.

Don't promise that it is the last time the doctor will place the needle in; rather reassure them, "They are going to try and place this I.V. in the best vein they can find. They will try to get it on the first try and if they can't, we will take a short break before they try again."

Reinforce for all cooperative behaviors and validate their expression of emotions.

Avoid making them responsible for the success of the procedure…i.e., "If you would just hold still, then the doctor could get this I.V. in." Instead, try saying, "It's okay if you need to cry now, and if you can hold still, we can be finished even more quickly!"

Use concrete language and choose your words carefully.

You can avoid increasing the anxiety of anticipation with your language. Anxiety is heightened by the use of words like "yucky, hurt, burn, sting…" Try saying things like "This medicine may have a taste that is different for you." If possible, offer a favorite drink to wash it down. For injections or blood draws, reassure your child, "You will feel the doctor pressing on your arm as the medicine goes in/blood comes out and when they are finished, you will feel more comfortable."  "The medicine will feel very warm as it travels up your arm for a few seconds."