Pediatric Preparation for Medical Tests - Preparing Your Child for a Medical Test
Medical tests can be scary for adults and for children. You can
help your child feel safe and calm during medical tests if you understand why
your child is having the test and remain calm yourself. Talk to your doctor
without your child present about any concerns you have about the need for the
test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you
understand the importance of the test for your child, complete the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
Try to schedule the test or exam for a
time when your child won't be tired or hungry. Tell your child as much or as
little about the test that he or she is old enough to understand. And always be
honest. For instance, don't promise something that may or may not be true, such
as saying that the test won't hurt. Instead, you could say "I'll be nearby."
Ask your doctor about any medicines that your child may have
before the test to reduce his or her discomfort, such as
EMLA cream to numb the skin before a needle stick. At
the time of the test or exam, your child may not want to cooperate with the
doctor, and you may need to hold your child still so the test can be done.
Don't scold your child for being afraid or for fighting or crying about being
held still. If you act scared or upset, or if it becomes too difficult for you
to hold your child, your doctor may ask you to leave the room and then have an
assistant hold your child during the test. Do your best to comfort your child
after the test is done.
Some common tests that your child may
Ages 1 to 24 months
Babies respond to gentle
physical contact. They are comforted by a quiet and calm voice. Loud sounds or
sudden movements frighten them.
An older baby may be afraid of
strangers, so be sure to hold him or her in a favorite position or in a
position where he or she can clearly see you. Most babies like to be cuddled in
an upright position. Your doctor may need to hold your child for the exam or
Try using distraction to help your child during a test.
Bring your child's favorite toy or quietly sing a favorite song. If you cannot
hold your child, stand where he or she can see your face.