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 IV?" "Do you want some EMLA numbing cream on your arm so you can feel more comfortable while they place the IV?"

"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 your child, "They are going to try to place this IV 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 your child’s expression of emotions.
Avoid making the child responsible for the success of the procedure, as in "If you would just hold still, then the doctor could get this IV 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 she is finished, you will feel more comfortable." "The medicine will feel very warm as it travels up your arm for a few seconds."

Contact Phoebe H. Stein Child Life Program at CHAM

Donate to Phoebe H. Stein Child Life Program

Child Life Program Director
Meghan D. Kelly, MSEd, CCLS
Phone: 718-741-2360

For volunteers, school and community organizations, toy donations
Child Life Program Supervisor
Ingrid Ordóñez-Street, MEd/SpEd, CCLS
Phone: 718-741-2556

For internship opportunities
Senior Child Life Specialist Internship Coordinator 
Talia Haviv, MS, CCLS 
Phone: 718-920-2321