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Blood draws aren’t fun, but that doesn’t mean they have to be frightening. Creating a cheerful environment in which children feel safe can help ease anxiety and build trust in healthcare professionals for years to come. Here are four ways to comfort pediatric patients during blood draws:

Give them a special chair.

A standard phlebotomy chair is an unfamiliar and perhaps intimidating sight for many children. Kid-friendly draw chairs can impart a sense of ownership and comfort.

Use kid-friendly equipment and supplies.

When kids aren’t sure what to expect, an environment filled with happy faces and eye-catching colors could help relax them. Think beyond wall art and use warmer, more playful blood draw essentials. CoFlex® bandages with fun patterns (cars, hearts, dinosaurs) or simple smiley faces are a thoughtful touch. Or go a step further and transform your cart into a customizable fantasyland on wheels.

Provide physical and visual distractions.

For many children, it might be wise to create distractions. Buzzy® manages pain by using vibration and ice wings to distract nerves, while the Shot Blocker relies on blunt contact points to saturate the sensory signals around the injection site.

Offer a reward.

The promise of even the smallest, most inexpensive tokens can make children feel better about their blood draws. Award stickers can give them a sense of accomplishment and make them feel special. Award sticker dispensers are a convenient, fun way to keep stickers together and offer multiple options.