How do I prepare my child for blood donation?

Blood collection can be a stressful process for most children and they are likely to express fear and denial.

Studies of children up to 17 years of age have shown that children younger than 7 years of age are the ones who have the most severe anxiety and fear reactions.

In many cases these reactions are likely to prevent the blood donation and maximise the child’s fear of subsequent blood donations.

Preparing a child for blood collection involves 2 phases.

  • The preparation of the child by the parents before the blood donation
  • The management of the child during blood collection

Preparation of blood collection by parents

Here are some simple steps to help your child feel comfortable during the blood draw.

  • Explain to the children what is going to happen. Tell your child why the test is being done and how it will be done. Use words and terminology based on your child’s age. Reassure your child that you will be there for the whole process
  • Be honest but also reassuring. Do not tell your child that blood donation does not hurt. It is better to tell your child that it will probably hurt a little but the pain will go away very quickly.
  • Practice deep breathing and other relief techniques. These may include singing songs or counting down from 10.
  • Schedule the blood draw at the right time. Try to schedule the test when your child is not tired or very hungry.
  • Your child may eat before the blood draw. This may reduce the chance of dizziness and headache. However, in cases where your child needs to fast, it is best to schedule the test in the early morning hours and offer him or her a snack after the sampling.
  • Offer plenty of water. If the test does not involve limiting fluid consumption it would be good enough to provide plenty of water. Water helps in the blood collection process. Drinking water strongly increases blood pressure in normal people. The compressive effect of drinking water helps the venous blood flow.
  • Bring along his favourite toy. Distraction is a technique that helps during the blood collection procedure so that the child is not afraid.
  • Plan to reward it with a small reward at the end of the blood draw. Offer your child a treat or make a drawing that will delight them.

Management of the child during blood collection.


For infants and toddlers

The importance of the parent’s posture during blood collection.

  • You will need to hold your child during the blood draw.
  • The parent’s posture should provide the child with calmness and security. Studies on children’s anxiety and fear during blood donation have shown that contact between the child and the parent is important because it reduces anxiety and pain.
  • With the guidance of the blood collector, we hold the child firmly close to our body, immobilizing the child’s legs and arm that is not being taken. Stabilising the child during blood collection is of paramount importance for quick and effective blood collection.


For older children

  • We offer the child the comfort of sitting down so that he or she is not pressured. Once the sampler has informed us that we are ready to start sampling you must hold your child’s hand or any other contact so that they feel comfortable and safe.

General rules for all ages

  • Talk to your child in a calm voice. During the blood draw it is a good idea to talk to your child in a low voice or sing to him or her
  • Distraction. It is good to have distractions in the room that will distract your child. This could be his favourite toy, TV he plays on as a child, etc.

The importance of distraction during blood collection in the child.

The distraction technique is a non-pharmacological method that aims to distract the child during the blood draw and reduce the anxiety and the feeling of pain. In addition to reducing stress and pain in the child, the procedure time is also reduced due to less intervention.

Distraction can be active or passive. Active is defined as a technique in which the child is engaged in an activity such as Video games. In the passive version of the technique, children remain quiet and calm while watching TV or listening to music.

Scientific studies show the correlation between the above techniques and pain reduction. In particular, the results are more evident when the above techniques are applied according to the age and psychological state of the child at that particular stage.

Painless blood collection procedure at StartBio using the VeinFinder vein detector

In a modern laboratory, equipped with the most modern machines, blood collection with the special VeinFinder machine becomes even easier.

The special machine thanks to its technology can visualize the patient’s veins, giving the healthcare professional a guide for a safer and more direct blood draw.

What is the VeinFinder for?

In an easier and more painless blood collection in groups with “difficult” veins such as:

  • Children and newborns
  • Older people
  • People with damaged veins (e.g. after hospitalisation, chemotherapy)
  • Obese people

How does it work?

The Health professional after making the bandage “illuminates” the patient’s hand with the special detector and then the veins in the patient’s hand are graphically displayed. The phlebotomist then selects the appropriate vein for the blood draw.

The procedure is completely painless, not invasive at all and requires minimal time.



Call us for an appointment or questions about your child's blood donation

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Carlson KL et al (2000) Using distraction to reduce reported pain, fear and behavioural distress in children and adolescents: a multisite study. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing. 5, 2, 75-85

Murphy, G. (2009). Distraction techniques for venepuncture: a review. Paediatric Care, 21(3), 18-20.

Inan, G., & Inal, S. (2018). The impact of three different distraction techniques on the pain and anxiety levels of children during venipuncture. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 1.

Birnie, K. A., Noel, M., Chambers, C. T., Uman, L. S., & Parker, J. A. (2018). Psychological interventions for needle-related procedural pain and distress in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Cavender, K., Goff, M. D., Hollon, E. C., & Guzzetta, C. E. (2004). Parents’ Positioning and Distracting Children During Venipuncture. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 22(1), 32-56.