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6yo has to have a blood test - how should I go about this?

(24 Posts)
ILoveAFullFridge Wed 09-Oct-13 18:24:28

Ds has to have a blood test. He has minimal experience of hospitals and has never had a blood test before. He is an intelligent boy with a big imagination, and very defiant and unco-operative if he chooses - or is particularly afraid of something.

I've got EMLA cream to put in his elbows before they take the blood.

Any tips on how to prepare him and how to handle him at the hospital? We have to go to the general blood test place, not paediatrics.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 09-Oct-13 23:20:34


ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Wed 09-Oct-13 23:23:02

I wouldn't tell him until you are on your way. Be very matter of fact about it. Make sure you put the EMLA on in plenty of time. Tell him it will probably still hurt a bit, but that it wont hurt for long, tell him why they need to do it and promise him something nice afterwards.

CocktailQueen Wed 09-Oct-13 23:24:14

Um. Dd age 5 had to gave blood taken and the Elma cream was not v helpful. What we did was sit her on my knee, facing me, and give her hand to the nurse who did the blood stuff behind her back. Hth?

rootypig Wed 09-Oct-13 23:27:05

Don't explain too much about it, and have them do it behind his back, as CocktailQueen says. Kids pick up on their parents' anxiety more than anything. Try to stay relaxed.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 10-Oct-13 00:00:24

It takes about 45 minutes for the cream to work though doesn't it?!

ILoveAFullFridge Thu 10-Oct-13 00:05:27

Not explain what is going to happen?

I've used EMLA myself for a minor surgical procedure when I was terrified of the injection for the local anaesthetic, and it worked perfectly. It needs to be on the skin for at least 45mins. I can apply it at home before we head off.

rootypig Thu 10-Oct-13 00:20:02

I would tell him what's going to happen, but without too much detail or warning, as Chipping says. Say it'll sting but be over in a second. Try to be fairly breezy about it - and don't worry. It'll be ok. Blood technicians are usually really experienced just run for the hills if a doctor comes sniffing round

I hope the results are ok too.

EdwiniasRevenge Thu 10-Oct-13 00:50:10

I know its a bit different but as for explaining how important it is.

When my Gp whipped out a tourniquet and took blood from me with no warning my 5-6yo was upset. I explained that the dr was sending blood to the hospital so the drs coukd look at it so mummy didn't have to go and stay in hospital.

linn111111 Thu 10-Oct-13 00:57:38

I have a five year old Emma and she was calm sbout it

eastendfareast Thu 10-Oct-13 01:01:48

My DS 5 has had quite a few blood tests. I find the Emla cream to be a hindrance rather than a help. It makes the whole process longer than necessary and some kids actually don't like the feeling of the cream on their arms which can make them distressed. We just sit him on my knee,I fold one of my legs over his and then hold my arm across his body and they arm that they aren't using. He hates it but it's over fast. I agree with others - don't overly discuss it, just go and get it over with good luck

humblebumble Thu 10-Oct-13 01:20:26

Please don't make the mistake of being too honest. I think it is better to just take them to the Drs room and say they are going to do some tests. You don't have to mention that it might hurt. I think that will fuel his fears <speaking from bitter experience with my PFB whom I thought I always had to be honest with>

My DC2 has blood tests all the time and is not fearful at all. I think it depends on the child. A good technician will make sure that it isn't painful other than the initial pin prick.

Good luck.

123rd Thu 10-Oct-13 01:26:14

My dd had to go through some test. The cream was no good for her-she reacted to it ! In the end-after a not very helpful blood technician completely ballsed it up we got sent round to the children's ward. They knew how to deal with kids, completely relaxed my dd and it was over in less then 5 mins.

ILoveAFullFridge Thu 10-Oct-13 07:23:23

Thanks for your suggestions. It goes against the grain not to explain what is about to happen, but you are so unanimous in this advice that I clearly ought to take it very seriously!

I take it that bribery has its place here?

Could you explain a bit more about having him facing me while they take blood? How can they get the needle into his arm that way?

Meglet Thu 10-Oct-13 07:35:00

Bribery definitely has it's place here!

6yo DS had an unexpected blood test during a routine allergy appointment. They popped the emla cream on him and left it to work for an hour or so. I did explain what was going to happen during that time. We went to the hospital coffee shop for a babycino and biscuits to cheer him up.

When it was time for the actual test the nurses got him to sit on my lap and gave me an ipad his free hand could play with. One nurse held his numbed arm and another one carried out the test. DS did obviously flinch when it went in but was more concerned with angry birds hmm. No tears or yelps at all.

He was a little shaken on the way home, not scarred for life but it though.

DeWe Thu 10-Oct-13 11:43:16

A packet of fruit pastals produced at the critical point had such a calming effect on my drama queen dd at that age that the doctor was amazed and now keeps a packet of them in his desk for other minor operations.

I did tell what was going to happen. I think it's important to let them know otherwise next time you go to the doctors they are going to be wondering if anything else will happen.

DeWe Thu 10-Oct-13 11:45:22

Oh and to have them facing you, you put them giving you a big hug, tummy to tummy on you. Their legs and arms go round your back. When I did it with ds, I held his arms tight under my arms so he couldn't wriggle them free.

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 11:48:00

It sounds as if you are very anxious about needles. Try not to let that come across to ds as he will pick it up very quickly. Be as matter of fact as you can. I would say you are going to have a test in advance, a bit like an injection (is he ok with these?), but don't need to tell him any detail. For me, I find seeing the blood and needle in my arm a lot worse. I don't mind injections as I just look away and hardly feel it. My kids are ok with injections.

MrsCakesPremonition Thu 10-Oct-13 11:51:28

I explained to my DD about her blood tests. Not in great graphic detail, but enough so that she wasn't surprised or frightened by what was happening.

I also focused on what we would once we'd finished with the blood test (go to the shop and choose her a magazine).

She sat in the chair on her own, I held her other hand and she looked at me (as we had discussed) while we talked about which magazine she was hoping to buy and what sort of toy might come attached to it.

It was over in seconds, the phlebotomy lady was a star and so was DD.

LilRedWG Thu 10-Oct-13 11:59:33

Going against the grain here. I always tell DD (7) well in advance. She know why she has the test and that it'll be over quickly. She also knows that she gets a treat afterwards.

I wouldn't like the sudden shock of a blood test so why would I subject DD to it.

LilRedWG Thu 10-Oct-13 12:01:26

But it really depends on the child.

ILoveAFullFridge Thu 10-Oct-13 12:52:59

I incline towards giving ds some info, but no graphic details. I think I will tell him that he's going to have some tests on the morning of the test, tell him that its a blood test only when he asks, and then answer his questions rather than launch into details. Discussion of what we will do afterwards sounds an excellent idea. I shall have chocy lollies in my pocket - they're our standard bribe for medical procedures.

BTW I'm not in the least bit anxious about needles - I watch my blood tests! - but I know my ds, and I'm anxious about his reaction. My post about having used EMLA...well, I defy anyone to view the prospect of having needles jabbed into their fanjo (without having just given birth beforehand) with equanimity.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 16-Oct-13 07:09:49

Ds was fabulous, the EMLA cream was fabulous, the phlebotomists were fabulous. It all went smoothly. Did the minimal info thing, plus rewards afterwards. Ds sat on the chair by himself and chatted in great fascination with the phlebotomists - he loved their job title! - throughout. A huge relief, because he may end up having to have several tests.

Thanks for your advice smile

gasman Thu 17-Oct-13 12:48:13

I'm glad it went well. They can surprise you!

I met a 7 yo recently who kicked up merry hell because the play therapist was helpfully trying to block his view of cannulation. He really wanted to watch. When we let him watch he sat deadly still and fascinated.

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