Stay informed with the latest updates on coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more >>


  • What is a midline?
    A midline is a thin tube that is inserted into a vein in the arm. One end of the midline can be seen on the outside of your child’s body, with the other end sitting in a vein in the arm.

    Why does my child need a midline and how long can it stay in for?
    A midline is usually required when medication needs to be given for more than one week. A midline can stay in place for approximately two weeks.  Once the midline is inserted, it is covered with a clear plastic dressing which helps to keep it clean and dry.

    The dressing and access port needs to be changed every seven days.


    Care at home – preventing infection

    • It is important to keep bathing your child as this stops germs on the skin. When bathing your child, make sure the dressing and the end of the midline remains clean and dry. The midline is not to get wet.
    • If your child has a shower, any clean plastic covering can be used to help protect the midline from water, such as a plastic bag or cling film with tape securing the edges.
    • Your child cannot go swimming while they have a midline in place.
    • Keep scissors or any other sharp objects away from your child’s midline.

    When to call the hospital or present to the emergency department

    • If you are worried about your child’s condition, call an ambulance.
    • Seek medical attention if you notice:
      • Any redness or swelling underneath the dressing or if the dressing is dirty.
      • If any of the access ports or clamps have come undone.
      • If the midline has started to or completely come out.
      • Chills or fever.
      • If you have any worries about your child’s condition.

    Emergency management

    If your child’s midline falls out in the home or at school, place pressure on the arm where the midline comes out of the skin and present to the hospital.

    Key points to remember

    • Keep your child’s midline clean and dry. Make sure it stays away from nappies.
    • Make sure your child has a bath or a shower once a day.
    • Keep sharp objects away from your child’s midline.
    • Contact the hospital, present to the emergency department, or call an ambulance if you have any concerns.

    For more information

    Common questions our doctors get asked

    Can the midline get wet?
    Your child cannot go swimming while they have a CVAD in place. It is important to keep the CVAD dressing clean and dry to prevent infection. Small splashes of water should be wiped off with a clean towel or cloth.

    Can my child play sport?
    Your child should not play any contact sport when the midline is in place as this may damage the device. Talk to your health care professional about what activities are safe for your child to do.

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital CVAD Committee. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Created December 2020.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit


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.