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Explaining an IV to Your Child

This is an IV. An IV is a small tube that is used to give your body water or medicine. It may also be used to get blood for a blood test.


Numbing options

At Children’s Mercy, we often use a J-tip or numbing cream to numb your skin before you get an IV. When your skin is numb, you will not feel the IV as much.

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.  


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. Sometimes, your family member may put numbing cream on you at home or before you come for your visit.


Steps for getting an IV

  1. The nurse 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 quick poke to slide the IV tube in the right place.

  4. After the IV is in place, the nurse will put water in the IV to make sure it is working. This may feel cold.


  1. Then, they will put a clear sticker over your IV to keep it in place.


  1. A nurse will take off the clear sticker and slide out the IV tube when you don’t need it anymore.

Things that can help when you get an IV

  • 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!