It’s 4 p.m., and it’s standing room only in the Outpatient Blood Draw area. Some children are sitting in the waiting room with their parents, quietly playing games on their electronic devices or watching cartoons on the large TV overhead. Others seem less relaxed, either sitting in tense silence or walking all around the room.
And I am here with Kaitlyn*, a 10-year-old girl with a fear of needles and blood draws. As soon as we enter the waiting room, Kaitlyn turns to her mother and whispers, “How soon until we leave?”
Kaitlyn’s needle phobia had been a persistent problem, and it started to interfere with her medical needs, which is why she came to see me, as a child psychologist.
But many children are afraid of needles to a lesser degree, and may become anxious in the days leading up to a medical visit or take longer to get shots or blood draws because of their fear.
Here are five things parents can do to make the medical procedure go more smoothly.