During IV Insertion: Comfort, Distraction and Reward
If you’ll be coming from home, at the doctor’s direction, have your child drink lots of fluid the night before the IV. Being hydrated makes it easier to see the veins. Also, dress your child warmly. When the body is warm, the veins are easier to find.
Sitting up can give your child a sense of control and may help them feel more relaxed since they can see what’s going on. Some children like their parents to hold them during the procedure, so a young child may feel best sitting on your lap.
Using distractions during IV insertion is important because it takes several minutes for the nurse to find the vein, thread the catheter, and get the tubing in place.
- Bring your child their favorite toy or blanket to hold while they wait.
- Read a story.
- Blow bubbles.
- Sing a favorite song together.
- Listen to music.
- Watch a movie.
- Help your child imagine they are in their favorite place.
- Do whatever has worked before to help your child stay calm.
Praise and Reward
Praise your child for a job well done. Acknowledge your child’s successes, like when they hold their arm still. Provide rewards at the end of the procedure, such as stickers or a favorite treat on the way home.
After IV Insertion: Monitor the IV Site
Medical staff should regularly check on your child’s IV setup, but it’s also important for you to monitor your child’s IV:
- Make sure your child doesn’t pull on the IV line when getting up.
- Watch the IV site to make sure it stays visible and dry, and the dressing remains securely attached to the skin.
- Look for any changes in appearance at the site, incuding redness, swelling, etc.
- Ask if your child feels pain or tingling.
Know the signs of infiltration and extravasation, or the accidental leaking of the IV infusion outside of the vein into the tissue. Keep an eye out for symptoms like:
- Pain, puffiness or swelling at the insertion point or the arm.
- Redness of the skin.
- Paleness of the skin.
If you notice any of these signs of trouble, notify the nurse right away.
IV lines are an essential part of your child’s care. Your involvement and attentiveness in providing comfort to your child throughout the process, can be the key to creating a positive experience. If you still have questions about IV therapy, be sure to find out the answers to these commonly asked IV questions.