In this section
Capillary Blood Sampling is
a way of doing a blood test. It is sometimes referred to as a
'finger prick' or a 'heel prick'. The finger or heel is pricked with a small handheld device. Blood is collected
into small collection tubes and sent to the laboratory ('the lab')
If the lab only needs a
small amount of blood, or if the doctor specifically asks for it.
Some children will say they can
only feel a small prickle and say 'ouch'. Other children will say it
While the blood is being
collected, you can hold your child close to provide comfort and
support. Staff will advise you on the best way to hold and
comfort your child. Talking in a calm, encouraging voice
and trying to distract your child can help reduce any anxiety over
getting a needle or finger/heel prick. Using distraction techniques such as
getting your child to look at a book, the colourful pictures on
walls, singing and blowing bubbles can be very
We encourage parents to
cuddle their children during blood collection. It gives the child a
sense of safety and security. If you cannot stay, a member of staff will hold your child.
It depends on the amount of
blood that is needed for testing. We can take up to 2mls of
blood from a capillary collection. Any more blood than this needs
to taken from a vein. Some blood tests can only be taken from a
consultation with the RCH Laboratory Services and Procedural Pain
and Sedation team, Clinical Quality & Safety. First published
July 2006. Updated November 2010.
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.