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Acad Emerg Med. 1996 Jan;3(1):58-64.

Effects of parental presence during children's venipuncture.

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Division of Emergency Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA.



To determine whether parental presence during venipuncture (VP) altered self-reported distress of the child, the parent, or the health professional (HP) performing VP.


During nine consecutive months, 130 nonconsecutive 8-18-year-old children having VP in an urban pediatric ED were prospectively randomized into two groups of 65 patients each. Before VP, every child, parent, and HP completed a questionnaire developed to measure epidemiologic variables believed to influence distress during VP. The patients were randomized to have either a parent present or both parents absent during VP. The patients, the parents, and the HPs privately self-reported their distress during VP on a visual analog scale (VAS). Statistical significance was determined by the Mann-Whitney U (rank-sum) test.


In the parent-present group, distress scores were lower for the parent (p < 0.01) and for the child (p < 0.04) than they were in the parents-absent group. The HP performing VP had no difference in distress scores with and without parental presence (p < 0.55).


Parents and children having VP have less distress with parental presence. Health professional distress is not affected by parental presence.

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