Know Before You Go: Kids

What is an IV?

An IV is a tiny straw that goes into your vein to help give your body a drink of water or medicine.  The IV can also be used to take a small sample of your blood for tests at the hospital.

What will happen during my IV?

A tight rubber band, called a tourniquet, will give your arm a hug to help your nurse find the best vein for the IV.  Next, your nurse will clean off your skin with soap; this might feel cold.  

Your nurse will then use special numbing medicine that helps you not feel the IV straw when it is put in.  This special numbing medicine feels like a pinch and makes a small bump on your skin.  The IV straw will then be put right through that small bump into your vein.  You will feel your nurse pushing on your arm but should not feel the poke of the needle.  

Once the straw is in the right spot, the needle comes out and only the straw stays inside the vein.  Tape will be put on and around the IV to make sure it stays in the right spot.  Your nurse might also tape a soft pillow to your arm to help remind you to keep it straight.

What is my job?

Your job is to hold your arm very still to make sure your vein stays in the right place.  It is also important to take deep breaths because this helps your nurse find your vein.

Know Before You Go: Parents

Helpful Info

Caregivers are able to remain with their child during the IV.  Your child may bring comfort items from home, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal.

Parent Role

You can help your child stay calm and relaxed by remaining calm yourself.  Parents are encouraged to ask about comfort positioning, or ways you can hold your child to reduce stress.

Important Notes

You know your child best and know how much information they can handle.  Talking with your child about the IV prior to arriving is important and beneficial in reducing anxiety.  If you would like to speak to a child life specialist to discuss your child’s coping during this appointment, please call 314.454.6139. 

Practice Tips

  • Practice taking deep breaths with your child.  Make this into a fun game by blowing bubbles or a pinwheel!
  • Discuss what your child can do during the IV placement: watch a show or play a game on the iPad, squeeze a stress ball, hold mom or dad’s hand or think about what he/she wants to do when they leave the hospital