When youngsters need a pediatric blood test, parents can prepare them to reduce any anxiety and get this important assessment done as easily as possible. The doctors at BridgeSpan Medicine wish to empower parents to instruct and comfort kids with honest information about what to expect as they come in for on-site lab work.
Who Needs a Pediatric Blood Test?
Babies, children, and teens may need blood draws from time to time for various health reasons, including diabetes, allergies, high cholesterol, infections, problems with growth and development, and more. Most parents are familiar with newborn testing, which occurs shortly after birthright in the hospital or birthing center, and with lead screening for toddlers.
Blood draws are a great tool that pediatric doctors use to check on the health of children of all ages. If your child has unusual symptoms or if you or your child’s doctor are concerned about their health, a blood test can help find answers.
Explaining Blood Testing To Your Child
Medical procedures are better tolerated by children when age-appropriate explanations of the medical procedure–dental work, surgery, suturing of lacerations, X-rays, and blood tests–are given ahead of time. With young children, simple details are best presented shortly before the test or treatment, and the promise of treats or rewards (a small toy, for instance) gives the child something positive to focus on. Even teens enjoy a special breakfast or lunch with mom or dad after a lab test.
Additionally, when a parent gently explains why a blood test is needed and what it involves, the child has a higher level of trust in the doctor and lab technician or technologist. Be sure your youngster knows that you will be with them during the blood draw, so there’s less nervousness.
Most likely, your child will need to fast 8 to 10 hours before the blood test. As such, schedule an early morning appointment at the lab and make sure your child can eat soon afterward.
Have your child wear a short-sleeved T-shirt, so the technician can easily access antecubital space on the inner side of the elbow. Bring a water bottle with you, so your child can hydrate right away after the test.
Here are some details on the lab test that you should explain to your child.
The technician will insert a thin needle into the arm.
After cleansing the skin with an alcohol swab, the technician will place a tight tourniquet around the upper arm. Then, they will insert the needle into the arm vein. This will cause a pinprick or insect sting sensation. However, once the needle is in place, there will be no more discomfort.
The needle will stay in place for about a minute, while your child sits still. During this time, your child will not feel any pain or discomfort, but they will be able to see the blood leave their arm and enter into a small tube.
Your child may do a little deep breathing during the blood draw.
Deep breathing will help your child focus on something besides the needle and will relax the muscles in the arm. It also helps most kids–even older teens–to look away from the needle as it is inserted.
The technician will cover the site with a bandage.
After gently withdrawing the needle and pressing on the site with a sterile 4×4 gauze pad, the technician will place a Band-Aid over the site. Your child should leave the band-aid in place until later in the day. There may be a little bruising around the needlestick site.
On-Site Laboratory Testing in Purchase, NY
BridgeSpan Medicine is a full-service adolescent medicine practice. Our doctors are board-certified experts in preventive and restorative medical care for children from birth through young adulthood. They may order blood and urine tests as part of a well-child visit, if an acute problem requires close monitoring or if a new chronic or acute condition is suspected.
Our on-site lab provides efficient collection and accurate test results, and our medical specialists who collect specimens are kind and compassionate. They work with children and teens all the time and can put them at ease.
To learn more about pediatric blood testing and the other medical assessments we offer at our Purchase location, please contact us at (914) 698-5544, or request a convenient appointment online. We will see you soon!