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Explaining a Blood Draw to Your Child

You need to have your blood checked today. This is called a “blood draw” or “lab draw”. Checking your blood gives the doctors and nurses important information about how your body is doing.


Numbing options

At Children’s Mercy, we often use numbing cream or medicine to numb your skin before you have your blood draw. When your skin is numb, you will not feel the blood draw as much. 

Sometimes, your family member may put numbing cream on you at home or before you come for your visit. Numbing cream sits on your skin for 20-30 minutes and feels like lotion. We use a clear bandage to help the cream stay in place.


Another way to numb your skin is with a J-tip. J-tip sprays numbing medicine under your skin. It makes a noise when it sprays. Some kids say it sounds like opening a soda can. 

Steps for getting a blood draw

  1. A staff person will look at your blue lines, called veins.  They will wrap a rubber band called a tourniquet tightly around your arm to see your veins better.

  2. Next, they will clean your skin with an alcohol wipe. It is a small cloth and feels cold and wet on your skin.

  3. Then, they will do a small poke with a needle to get a little blood out into a tube. Your body does not need the blood that is taken out. You have a lot of blood in your body and your body will make new blood quickly.

  4. When they have enough blood, they will slide out the needle.

  5. Then you will get an adhesive bandage.


Things that can help when you get a blood draw

  • Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Hold someone’s hand.
  • Squeeze a ball.
  • Choose to watch or look at something else, like a book or tablet.

What do you want to do? You can make a plan and practice!