Behavioral approaches to anxiety and pain management for pediatric venous access

Pediatrics. 2008 Nov:122 Suppl 3:S134-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-1055f.


Pediatric venous access causes unnecessary anxiety and pain in children and, in turn, can have detrimental consequences. Behavioral approaches to pediatric venous access distress management can be organized temporally. Specifically, preparation before the procedure includes providing children with sensory and procedural information in an age-appropriate manner and providing training in coping skills. It is important to consider the timing, format, and content of the approach to provide optimal preparation for the unique circumstances of the individual patient. In addition to the child patient, preparing parents and teaching them which specific behaviors might be most helpful to their child should prove valuable to both patient and parents. During the procedure, there are benefits to providing secure and comfortable positioning. In addition, researchers recommend that adults encourage children to cope and actively engage children in distracting activities. For infants, there is support for the distress-mitigation properties of swaddling, skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and sucrose. After venous access, distraction and encouragement of coping should speed recovery. In sum, research in behavioral approaches to pediatric pain management has provided recommendations for minimizing children's anxiety and pain associated with venous access.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / psychology*
  • Child
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / psychology*