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Tips to make paediatric phlebotomy appointments a little less scary

Blood tests are a common medical procedure to assess people’s general state of health, whether someone has an infection and more. Your little ones are no exception.

Posted on: 24 August 2023

GPs sometimes order blood tests for children and young people, and we have trained health care professionals to complete this vital work.

Here’s what you can do to make your child’s phlebotomy appointment efficient for you and a little less scary for them.

Be prepared, or let us know

Please ensure you take a paper copy of the GP blood test request form to your appointment. This will ensure the correct tests are completed. Many times, the blood test cannot be completed without the paper form.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that your child is well-rested and not hungry, so they will feel more relaxed.

It’s also important that you call to cancel appointments as soon as possible if you cannot attend. This way, the space can be offered to someone else. 

Reassurance and comfort

Explain what is going to happen and that the test is necessary. Let them know it’s OK to be frightened. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that the blood test should not take long. You might also take a favourite toy or book to distract them while the test is done.

Your GP may recommend a topical anaesthetic cream to numb the area where the needle will be inserted. These can be purchased without a prescription. Just allow at least an hour for the cream to take effect before your appointment time.

Consider a reward

When it’s all done, offer lots of praise to them for being brave. This will help them feel good about themselves and make them more likely to cooperate should you need another test in the future. 

You could also offer a reward whether that’s a trip to the park, a snack, drink or another treat, so they have something to look forward to.

Patience is key

Remember, every child is different and will react to blood tests differently. It’s normal if your child is afraid. 

The most important thing is to be patient, understanding, and supportive. With your help, your child can get through the blood test and feel better afterwards.


Patient information leaflet