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Our lab assistants are trained in three different techniques used to obtain blood specimens.
The method chosen for your child will depend on the amount of blood needed for the tests ordered, and the age of your child. At Cook Children’s, we only draw the minimum quantity of blood needed to perform testing.
Laboratory procedures can be scary for a child. Our dedicated lab assistants are well trained in pediatric phlebotomy techniques and are skilled in handling the special needs of children. We manage your child's pain by using a variety of age appropriate methods and practices. Child Life specialists work to prepare and support patients before, during and after the blood collection procedure. They explain everything in age appropriate language, encourage positive coping, and provide distraction and emotional support. Child Life specialists utilize various tools to aid in the overall success of the procedure, including medical play and visual aids.
Sucrose promotes the release of endorphins, the body's own natural painkillers. The action of sucking on a pacifier is also believed to potentiate the effect of sucrose. Infants less than six months of age, who qualify, may receive sucrose analgesia prior to painful procedures.
Cold vibration device (BUZZY®)
The cold vibration device (BUZZY®) incorporates a cold pack with a vibrating mechanism which confuses the nerves at the site where the pain occurs and distracts attention away from the needle stick.
* Contraindications: The cold pack should not be used on patients under 2, patients with Sickle Cell, or patients with cold sensitivity such as Raynaud's Syndrome.
Topical anesthetic skin refrigerant
This method of pain relief uses a topical aerosol anesthetic refrigerant that quickly numbs the area of skin and lessens the pain of the needle stick.
Topical anesthetic cream
Families can obtain a prescription from their physician for an anesthetic topical cream. Lab assistants are not allowed to apply the cream but the clinic nurse or parent can perform the application.
We offer a variety of age appropriate distractions including:
Bubbles, I Spy books, iPad, toys, etc.
For infants under a year, when only a small amount of blood is needed, the lab assistant can perform a heel stick. The heel is warmed with a special gel pouch and then pricked with a special heel stick device. The heel is squeezed gently and blood is collected into small special tubes to be sent to the laboratory for testing.
For children at least a year old, when only a small amount of blood is needed, the lab assistant can perform a finger stick. The finger is warmed with a special gel pouch and then pricked with a special finger stick device. The finger is squeezed gently and blood is collected into small tubes to be sent to the laboratory for testing.
When more blood is required for testing than can be obtained from a finger stick or heel stick, a venipuncture may be required. A small specialized needle called a butterfly needle is used to withdraw blood from a vein. The veins most commonly used for venipuncture are in the bend of the arm near the elbow or in the hand. Blood is collected into a syringe or drawn directly into a special tube. Your child's blood is then sent to the laboratory to be tested.
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