Preparing Your Child for Pokes

Dec 2, 2021 | Children's Health

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Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health network is dedicated to making your child’s experience with any poke, from vaccination, IV start or lab draw, as easy and stress-free as possible.

We recognize the “poke” (needle stick) may be a bit uncomfortable, but if we work together, we can make the “poke” a more comfortable and positive experience for you and your child. If you do not feel comfortable assisting with your child, please let the team member know ahead of time.

How Parents Can Help

1. Share information with the nurse starting the IV or the person drawing your child’s blood. 

    • How do you think your child will respond to the “poke?”
    • How have they responded in the past? For example, are they able to hold still or do they require help?
    • What do you think will make the “poke” better or more comfortable? For example, do they like to watch or look away?

2. Prepare your child. 

  • Be honest
  • Use simple, child-friendly words such as “poke” instead of “shot” or “needle.”
  • Think like your child when trying to decide what to say.
  • Give your child jobs that they can accomplish, such as holding still, taking deep breaths or counting
  • Practice with your child ahead of time.

3. Use distraction. 

  • Distraction is used to turn your child’s attention from the “poke.” Examples include: Counting, playing guessing games, singing a song, taking deep breaths, playing an electronic game, watching cartoons, etc.
  • Use distraction before, during and after the procedure.

4. Position for comfort. 

Our staff is trained to position your child in such a way that they will be safe and comfortable during their “poke.” 

The benefits of comfort positioning are: 

  • Provides you (the parent/caregiver) with an active role 
  • Good, comfortable control over the patient’s movement 
  • Allows you to “hug” your child, rather than hold them down 
  • Limits what your child sees during the procedure to reduce their fear

5. Always Encourage! 

Use calm, positive words and relaxed behavior when speaking with your child about the “poke.” Children feed off the feelings, body language and facial expressions of others. If you seem afraid or anxious, they will be too. 

6. Pain management. 

We have several products available to reduce your child’s discomfort associated with the “poke.” These products can be applied to the skin prior to the procedure. Please ask your nurse which option is best for your child.

Looking for more parenting tips? Check out Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health ParentingU Podcast.


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