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Any tips on encouraging an 8 year old to allow a blood draw?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My son has started seeing a naturopath for some help with his varied health problems.  Without going into all the long drawn out details, we are trying to get some food allergy testing for him. She has recommended a blood test, but my son won't agree to it.


I have tried and tried any and all gentle ways of encouraging him. I do not want to force him into it, and I don't think we could even if we wanted it--he is STRONG. But we really, really need to get this done so we can start working on a good and healthy diet for him.


I explained how it all works, I was honest and simple with him. I encouraged him, even used creative storytelling to walk him through it. I allowed the nurse to draw my blood so I could show him what it looked like and that it was not excruciatingly painful. I am honoring and respecting his feelings, but I'm out of ideas. We need to move forward on this.


Anyone done this?

post #2 of 7

have you thought about using a local analgesic like EMLA cream or freeze spray?  I have a SN child and it totally makes blood draws less traumatic. 

post #3 of 7

it really is QUICK if you go to a good phlebotomist - my (at the time 3 year old) didn't even whimper when we had it done- it's really in who you get


I don't know where you are but for example in Philadelphia there is a program for special needs kids and the phlebotomist are trained to work on them, really any children's hosp is ideal in getting some one who is quick and deals with children- they make it simple and really as painless as can be, they also will be much better in dealing with fears and anxiety and at a children's hosp you are in a much different atmosphere - if you really need it seek out a children's center, not a local health dept. 


good luck

post #4 of 7

My daughter has epilepsy and had blood draws every few months for years because of her anti-seizure meds.  I agree with the pp's...find someone who is experienced and is used to drawing blood on children and is more patient.   We didn't always have that luxury since we had to time her draws with her meds so sometimes we had to go to the lab at the ER - a good phlebotomist who is good with children makes a difference.


In my daughter's case, there were times she was more agreeable and other times she wasn't.  We explained that it was necessary in order for her to stay healthy.  Because they had to draw so many vials she sometimes started out fine but became upset during the draw.  (I'm assuming if you are having ELISA, ALCAT or some test like these it will be approx. 3 or 4 vials?)  So, if your son is strong, you may want to be prepared to hold him still a bit...I know it is difficult, it broke my heart when she would get upset.  My daughter normally prefers to sit on my lap.  I try to distract her.  And...although I am not a fan of rewards for most things...we always stop for ice cream after-wards.  I figure she deserves it and she looks forward to it (the ice cream).


Good luck.



edited for clarification

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great advice and encouragement everyone! I guess I should clarify a little bit. The woman doing the blood draw is a very sweet and experienced nurse that I know quite personally. She was actually the birth assistant present at my son's birth 8 years ago. She was very sweet and kind with him, and she and I spent an hour gently trying to get his cooperation. The work was being done in an upstairs (out of the way and quiet, with no distractions) birthing suite of our local birthing home. And she even offered to come to our home, if she thought that might help.


I should also add that he has some sensory issues which are contributing to his fear. (And part of the reason we are trying to find out what he is allergic to.)


And I am not the type to ever resort to bribery, I was laying it on quite thick in an effort to get his cooperation. :) He did not take me up on my offer!


I will do some research on EMLA cream or freeze spray. Is that something that will numb the skin?


Thanks everyone! I appreciate it!!

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I forgot to mention: yes, they need two vials but the nurse said it should not take any longer than two minutes if he holds still and cooperates. She will not do the draw without his permission, so there is no chance of anyone ambushing him.

post #7 of 7

This works really well on my kids. They absolutely do not feel the shot.




However, the pre-injection anxiety is what I battled initially with my older child (then aged 5).

With him, we focused on the reason why he was getting a blood draw, what the blood draw will tell us (ie the presence and number of white blood cells, etc), basically the whole biology of it. When he was able to focus on that, he was more receptive to getting a blood draw.


Then the Buzzy kind of solidified the fact that it's really not that bad considering that he didn't even feel it.

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