Paediatric sampling considerations

Sampling paediatric patients

How to minimise stress for children during capillary blood sampling

  • Greet and identify the patient according to patient safety standards, which requires asking the child or parent/guardian (depending on the child’s age) a minimum
    of two unique questions (e.g. name, date of birth and/or address)
  • Prepare the child and parent/guardian by explaining the procedure in simple terms
  • Identify the finger to be sampled and explain it will first need cleaning
  • Show the child the device and explain that they will feel the device
    being gently pushed onto their finger
  • Explain they will hear a soft clicking sound and that their finger may sting a little bit as a small drop of blood appears
  • Describe that their finger may be squeezed gently to collect blood in a tube for testing and emphasise it is best to
    hold still throughout the procedure
  • While performing the procedure use positive reinforcement with words and/or distractions (e.g. ask them their favourite colour) to shift the child’s focus and make the situation less stressful
  • Keep talking during the procedure while reassuring the child with updates as
    to when it will be finished
  • As they leave thank the child and encourage them with praise or a handshake1
Minimise stress for children during capillary blood sampling by providing a safe and calming environment, such as allowing the child to sit on his/her parent's lap.

Expert Tip

Be sure to provide a safe and calming environment to help minimise stress for children during sampling

These materials have been produced in consultation with key opinion leaders and follow global guidelines, but the user should use his or her professional judgement when using any technique or method described in these materials and should take into account all applicable national, regional and institutional guidelines and regulations.

1. WHO guidelines on drawing blood: best practices in phlebotomy. World Health Organisation; 2010.