Top 5 tips for collecting blood with a finger prick in kids

  1. Acknowledge your child's fears. Understand that finger pricks may be scary to children and that kids may experience real discomfort. Refrain from telling your child that their claims of discomfort from finger pricks are wrong. Responses such as "You didn't feel that" or "It won't hurt a bit" can be confusing and frustrating if the child truly did experience pain.
  2. Reduce anxiety-provoking factors and try to remain as relaxed as possible. Children are greatly influenced by parental anxiety. Talk softly and slowly. Try not to escalate the tone or speed of your speech if your child begins to cry or resist. Do not put much emphasis on the lancet to reduce the child's fear and apprehension of the device.
  3. Use controlled breathing. Everyone involved in the finger prick may want to practice controlled breathing. Instruct your child to take a deep, slow breath, hold for three seconds, and exhale slowly. Do this two to three times together. Time depressing the button on the lancet with the last breath, and have your child blow out, as if he were blowing away the pinch.
  4. Use distraction. Distraction is the most practical and effective tool to minimize pain and distress for children. Some effective distraction activities include blowing bubbles, squeezing on a soft ball, searching for specific items in a colorful photo or in the room, watching a video on a tablet or device, doing simple math equations out loud, counting, or saying the alphabet.
  5. Press the lancet device firmly on the finger. It is common to instinctually pull back slightly when depressing the button on the lancet. This will cause the needle to not go deep enough into the skin and will greatly increase the likelihood of having to repeat the procedure on another finger because you will not have enough blood to fill up a circle on the card. Press the device firmly onto the child's finger and keep that pressure while depressing the button on the lancet to ensure the needle goes deep enough to pierce the skin properly.