Brookings Health System

Pediatric Laboratory Services

Brookings Health System’s laboratory medical technologists are specially trained in pediatric blood drawing to give children staying in the hospital and those seen on an outpatient basis less painful and traumatic experiences.

Our lab team uses three techniques for drawing children’s blood: venipuncture with a butterfly needle, finger stick or heel stick. Lab technologists choose the appropriate method based on the test needed and the child’s age. Kids receive a sticker for being brave at the end of the blood draw when age appropriate.

Listen to mom Jennifer Zobel talk about the warmth and tenderness the lab team shows her baby boy, Teddy.

Venipuncture with Butterfly Needle

Venipuncture means inserting a need in a vein to withdraw blood. Blood drawn from a vein is most commonly taken from a bend in the arm near the elbow. Other areas, such as the top of the hand or foot, may also be used.

Venipuncture is performed on children with a butterfly needle, the smallest needle available which makes pediatric blood draw more manageable. All Brookings Health System laboratory technologists are highly trained to properly draw blood using the small butterfly needle.

Children may feel a sting when the needle is inserted. To comfort children and prevent them from being scared, our lab technologists allow children to stay snuggled in their parents’ arms or wrap them in a warm blanket.

Finger or Heel Stick

A finger or heel stick may be used with children when only a small amount of blood is needed. Heel sticks are not typically performed once a child reaches 3 to 6 months of age.

Before a stick is done, a lab technician will warm a child’s hand or heel with a gel pouch. Once the skin is warm, the lab technician will make a small prick in the finger or heel. The child will feel a quick, sharp prick and a technician will gently squeeze the child’s finger or heel to obtain the blood sample.

For more information, please contact our laboratory at (605) 696-8408.