Children's Hospital Colorado

What to Expect from Your Child's Blood Draw

A bright blue background with the "balloon boy" off center to the right. The balloon boy is a blue character who appears to be soaring by holding red, orange and yellow balloons above his head.

We're here to support you with the care and information you need before, during and after your visit to a Children's Hospital Colorado laboratory.

We've compiled helpful information on pediatric blood draws and what to do before a blood test, so your family feels confident and comfortable coming to our hospital for blood work.

What to expect from a pediatric blood draw

When you come to Children's Colorado for your child's lab work, you can expect high quality, family-focused care.

Our specially trained pediatric staff knows that needles seem scary to kids, which is why everything we do, in and out of the lab, is kid friendly, like:

  • Using the tiniest possible needle, the butterfly needle
  • Keeping your child distracted until the blood draw is over
  • Using special techniques where we gently hold their arm while mom or dad gives them a comforting hug

What to do before a blood test

We want to make your visit to our department as easy as possible. When it comes to blood test preparation, there are a few things you can do:

  • Drink plenty of water: To prepare for a blood test, your child should drink plenty of water the night before. Water hydrates your veins, and hydrated veins are easier to find – meaning their easier to draw blood from.
  • Layer: We recommend you wear layers when you come for blood work. That way you can stay comfortable and warm and it's easy for the technician to access your vein.
  • Dress warmly: When your body's warm, it's easier to find your veins, which means there's no poking around. We recommend you wear a sweater when coming to Children's Colorado labs for blood work.
  • Talk about it: Sometimes knowing what's coming helps kids feel less afraid. To help your child prepare for a blood test, tell them what's going to happen before, during and after the test.

What should I bring to my child's lab appointment?

When you come to one of our laboratories for blood work, you should bring:

  • Your insurance cards
  • A photo ID
  • The name and phone number of the doctor who ordered the tests
  • The lab test request from your child's doctor

Types of pediatric blood draws we offer

The phlebotomy and laboratory staff at Children's Colorado's Outpatient Lab is specially trained in pediatric blood draws, which means a less painful and traumatic experience for your child.

There are three techniques our lab technicians use when performing a child blood test: venipuncture, finger stick and heel stick. The phlebotomist will choose the best method for your child's blood draw depending on the amount of blood they need for the tests and your child's age. We only draw the minimum quantity of blood that's needed, and we do so as quickly and kid-friendly as possible.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on pediatric blood draws

We understand that kids and their families may feel anxious or frightened when a child needs to have a blood test.

The following frequently asked questions may help ease your child's anxiety around blood tests. This information also includes suggestions for ways to provide support and encourage your child during the blood test.