How to Help When Your Child Needs to Get a Needle Poke
Why does my child need a needle poke
In hospitals needle pokes may be used for:
IV Medications & Fluids
Numbing Injections for Stitching
The difference between bloodwork (venipuncture) and IVs (Intravenous Placement)
Needle poke to take blood sample
Needle poke to insert "straw" (IV cannula): needle comes out, but "straw" stays in
Why does my child need an IV?
Tips for everyone
1. Be calm and use encouraging language
Be a role model for your child - they are looking to you to understand how they should feel.
Don’t say sorry, but tell them how great they are doing!
2. Try numbing cream
Numbing cream can be used for all ages.
But remember they require 30 - 60 minutes to work, depending on the type of numbing cream used.
3. Ask for help
You can always ask health care professionals for help or suggestions.
Age specific tips
Click an icon to view
Tips for Babies
Give sugar water 1-2 minutes before the procedure.
Start feeding your infant immediately before the procedure and continue during and after.
Distract your infant at the time of the poke. (Bells, toys, etc.)
Lowers response to pain
Stablizes heart and oxygen levels
Helps your child recover faster
Also called ‘direct skin contact’.
Hold your child facing you, against your bare chest.
Start the hold 15 minutes before the needle poke.
Tips for Children
Offer fun and positive ways to distract your child from the needle poke.
Include your child in deciding which distraction would be best.
Here are some suggestions:
The Joey Position
Caregiver sits on bed or chair - child sits on lap facing outward
Child's leg can be tucked in between caregiver's leg as needed
The Bear Hug
Caregiver sits on bed or chair - child straddles chest to chest.
(Child faces their caregiver)
Child's legs are positioned so that they are stable
Tips for Teens
Distractions & Comforts
Let your teen decide what they need and what will work best for them.
Give open and honest answers to any questions they may have.
Suggest that they take a deep breathe and look away.
Distractions help - try listening to your favourite tunes!
Positive attitude and support can go a long way. Everyone needs a confidence boost sometimes!
[Video] How to help when your child needs a needle poke
This video provides information about needle pokes and useful tips for parents and families who have a child that may require a needle poke.
Do you have question or concern regarding the health of yourself or a child? The Health Link website provides resources that can help answer your question. Can’t find the answer on the site? Dial 811 to talk to a registered nurse to get advice on what to do.