Preparing Your Child for a Lab Test

Medical tests don’t always have to be scary, and we can help with that! Our amazing team members of phlebotomists and lab patient technicians at our 400+ patient service centres are trained to help create a calm and welcoming environment for your child that helps make them feel confident about getting a lab test done. But let’s work together to make the experience even better for you and your child during your next visit! Here are 5 ways to help prepare for your next visit.

1. Know what you need for the test(s)

Did you know that some tests require fasting beforehand? Or that for other tests, medications to be taken at certain times so as not to impact the lab results? Before booking that appointment, make sure you discuss the required test(s) with your child’s doctor to make sure you understand what preparations your child may need to take before completing the test. Understanding these steps can provide more peace of mind about the overall process, as well as likely answer many other questions you (and your child) may have had about the test(s).

2. Schedule strategically

If your child must complete a test that requires fasting, you may want to consider booking an appointment online to schedule the test for first thing in the morning, so they are not increasingly hungry and tired as the day progresses (don’t forget to bring a snack for afterward!). If fasting isn’t required, then eating beforehand will help decrease any chance of lightheadedness.

3. Set realistic expectations (for you and your child)

If your child asks if the test is going to hurt, be honest and don’t pretend the experience will be completely painless. Instead, reassure your child that the process will be quick, the pain won’t last, and you’ll be right there with them. If they’re feeling scared or anxious, it’s good to talk about how they’re feeling so you can practice calming techniques before the appointment, such as breathing exercises.

4. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is important for urine and blood tests. Unless you were instructed by the doctor to do so otherwise, encourage your child to drink water before the office visit. A fuller bladder will help them urinate during their appointment. Drinking water also hydrates veins, which can help make the blood draw easier.

5. Do a bit of light reading beforehand!

Our team members are here to help make the experience as comfortable as possible for you and your child! They do this in all sorts of ways, from making up little games as a distraction, to providing reassurance by helping them through every step of the way. In fact, one of our amazing team members even wrote a book to illustrate what it’s like to go for a blood test! Mary-Ann Hilderley, a front-line employee with over 20 years of experience at our Shelburne, Ontario location, wrote “Matthew Goes for a Blood Test” to help make the testing experience a positive one.  

The book is available for purchase on, Barnes & Noble, and Indigo.