19 answers

Lead Testing on 2 Year Old

Hi moms, Just got back from our 2 year doctor's appointment. The pediatrician is sending us for a lead test for our daughter. They did the 1 year test at the office and it was just a finger prick. They no longer test in the office though, so we have to go to a lab. Also, she told me the test would now be blood drawn from the arm. Though I'm sure it does hurt less, it seems so traumatic for a 2 year old, not to mention the mom who has to hold her down! Just wondering if others had their kids tested for lead at this age and how it was done. The doctor said they stop routinely testing kids after age 2 so hopefully this will be the only time, but I want to make it as easy as possible for my daughter! Thanks so much for any advice or info.

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My doc doesn't order the test routinely. He said he doesn't do it unless there is a reason. I told him I live in an old house (built in 1920) but he said I'd have to have old paint that was peeling pretty badly for it to be a concern.

He also said, in the unlikely event that there is high lead, there isn't much you can do--the treatments aren't proven to be all that effective, and they are painful and expensive.

Given all that, I'd much rather test my house first!

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My son had a lot of shots early in life...he had ear infections so frequently that he stopped responding to oral antibiotics and had to get shots in his theighs...way worse than having blood drawn...after the trauma of one shot, I'd have to bring him back days later for another...with the memory of the first still very fresh. (he then got ear tubes and no more infections) It SUCKED...there is nothing worse than holding your child down so that someone else can cause them pain. BUT...lead poisoning = brain damage; deal with it and have your child tested!!!

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At my daughter's two YO visit she had to submit to a blood test via her arm. I had to hold her and she watched intently as the doctor took blood with the nurse's assistance. She didn't even cry.

Perhaps a lolly pop given to him RIGHT before the Dr. sticks the needle in will help a bit?

What are you going to do - giving blood is a fact of life. He'll be fine 30 seconds after the doctor is through. Just try not to make a big deal out of it and stay calm for him.

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distract her, right before the shot hand her something new and interesting to keep her mind on while the shot is being given. It could be a cup or some other tool from the office your in, something she normally cant play with.

Lead test is sooooo worth, especially these days when 75% of the toys on the market are made with lead.

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I just took my 3yo son on tuesday for the 2nd time we went for routine CBC but it was drawn from his arm both times. I told him both times what was going to happen (that they were going to pinch his arm to get some blood and that if he didn't move it would be over very quickly)and he did worderfully for both lab visits, last year he cried a little but stopped as soon as the band aid was put on and this time not one tear he sat there like such a big boy and let the tech do what he needed to do. when we were done I took him to get M&Ms. The hardest part was the 2 1/2 hour wait in the waiting room. Every kids is different so everyone will have a different experience. Just prepare her so there are no surprises.

Hope this helps!

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It was in the arm when our son turned 1 and it was a bad experience of course more for me than him. I am sure he won't remember but I do. After messing with him (jiggling the needle in his little vein) and still unable to get what they needed, they did the finger. I know the doc will tell us at his 2 year next week to go again but I'm not. The 2 year isn't mandatory for school like the 1 year is.

I will say having had to deal with stitches and IV's with the children that the burrito method was easiest. They lay a sheet on the table, child on top of the sheet, and wrap them up tightly so that only the head and arm are out. It makes it MUCH easier to keep the body and arm still and allows you to be able to be face to face comforting instead of one of the people holding them down.


I took my baby in to have lead testing, among other things, twice. It's much, MUCH easier to have your baby sit in your lap, and then at the last second, restrain them for the 30 odd seconds it takes to draw the blood.

Get the lead test, though. You never know where they are going to have picked it up. We are going to do it again, bc of leaded glass windows at church (on his level).

Good luck! Any questions about specifics, give me a ring here.

my daughter had blood testing for another reason and it was not as bad as i expected. make sure you take her to a lab that has people trained on children. you also might want to follow it up with a treat of some sort. they are pretty quick though and she sat on my lap while they were drawing the blood. good luck.

we actually had the 1yr lead test done by drawing blood from the arm. I guess different docs do it differently, at any rate, it was horrible. not to scare you, but there is a lot of kicking and screaming and you really need to hold her down tight. they have techniques on how to hold the baby still while they draw the blood, so you just have to be strong and think that it doesn't last more than a minute or two. i don't know about your daughter, but mine hates the doc (since she gets pricked almost every time), so i always bring my husband along to help hold her legs while i hold her arms.
it's just one of those things that has to be done, and once it's over, it's over.
good luck!

My 5 year old daughter still gets the lead test because we live in a n old building and they still do the finger prick. We still get all the testing done at our doctors office. Good luck.

My daughter (now 2 1/2) was never tested for lead, since there is really no need for it in our case. Our house was newly painted before she was born, and there was no lead detected during our house inspection before we purchased the house (when I was pregnant). So there was no risk. Not sure what your housing situation is, but if there's no risk of lead poisoning, I see absolutely no reason to have your child tested for it.

I just read everyone elses responses AFTER I typed mine - I am shocked that everyone is so relaxed about it. I guess my experience was out of the ordinary? I swear it was n't even the nurses - it all started with the rubber band around the arm.. so I hope your experience isn't as bad as mine.

Heres what I wrote first:

I'm not going to lie to you - be prepared - IT IS TERRIBLE. My son had the real arm blood test, but I had it done that way at his 1st test. IT WAS HORRILBE! I had to sit in the chair holding him. Right away he got upset just from being held. I had to basically wrap my arms around him and hold his little arm done. There were TWO nurses in the room to help. One tied the rubber band around his arm which made him FREAK OUT. He was kicking, flailing, screaming, crying, hitting and trying to take it off. NOTHING I said or did helped. The second nurse took the blood and it is seems like along time before thats over b/c my son was sitll FREAKING OUT. Then it was over. He still cried for soooo long after that and just sat in his car seat holding his arm up and looking at it with such distrust that Mommy just did that to him!!!!!!! IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! So...I am not trying to scare you , I just want you to be prepared. If you can bring some moral support with you - DO IT! Also plan on giving a treat and lots of love after b/c if it was like our experience it was horrible!

Hi L.,

My son just had this done! He's only 20 months old, and we had to get his blood drawn to check for lyme disease (luckily it was negative). My doctor decided to do the lead test at the same time, which is good, so we won't have to go again when he turns 2. Anyway, my advice is to bring another adult with you, so your daughter can sit on someone's lap and hold her tight. Then you can focus on holding your daughter's arm for the nurse to draw the blood. The key is to hold the child tight--so the needle doesn't pull out. Honestly, I thought my son was going to freak out, but it only takes about 30 seconds to draw the blood--he did cry, but it was over as soon as the needle was out. I've seen him carry on more when one of the doggies steals his bagel! Don't worry Mamma ... she'll be fine! It's going to be much harder on you and whoever else you bring to hold on tight--kids are strong and squirmy!

Good luck,

My doc doesn't order the test routinely. He said he doesn't do it unless there is a reason. I told him I live in an old house (built in 1920) but he said I'd have to have old paint that was peeling pretty badly for it to be a concern.

He also said, in the unlikely event that there is high lead, there isn't much you can do--the treatments aren't proven to be all that effective, and they are painful and expensive.

Given all that, I'd much rather test my house first!

We had to do it at my sons 1 year check.

The first lab I went to (twice 'cause I'm an idiot), the woman couldn't get any blood. She claimed "the needle was in, but the blood just wasn't flowing." Yeah, whatever crazy lady.

Anyway, the second lab I went to was FABULOUS! They had 2 people there, one entertained him and the other one drew the blood (he sat on my lap and I did have to hold him, but not too tight the time that actually worked).

The worst part (well, except for the woman digging for a vein in his arm) was the rubber band around his arm.

I'd suggest calling whatever lab you're going to go to and ask who's best with kids and when they're working.

Also, there's lead in more than just old houses. Remember just a few years ago a bunch of toys made in China were recalled because they contained lead.

I was too chicken to do my son's at 2, but I knew at his 3-year I better get it done, plus the dr had ordered a routine CBC as well (which indicated that his iron was low, which involved 2 more lab trips--yay, but I digress). What they had me do at the lab, and it helped that they were young girls who just love kids anyway and feel horrible when one has to have blood drawn, was to hold my son on my lap, my legs over his so he couldn't kick, my arms around him holding the upper parts of his arms, and he had his favorite Curious George doll with him. He did cry, but it went quickly and they offered him stickers afterward. They didn't have George stickers the first time, but they had some the 2nd and 3rd times so my son was happy about that, and by the time we got back to the car, he was smiling and jumping for joy again. He just wanted the bandage off ASAP.

Your daughter will be ok, and she'll probably forget it even sooner than my son did because she's younger. Above all, try to be strong about it yourself, be reassuring but act like it's not a big deal. If she sees you're upset, it'll be worse. GOOD LUCK!

Oh and I took him to lunch or did something fun afterward--kind of like "making it up to him". Makes them forget even sooner...

Hi there- my son had to go the lab for the lead test, they drew blood. Our insurance wouldn't let the pediatrician do it so to the lab we went. I was horrified when I got there and learned I would have to have him sit on my lap and hold his arm while they drew blood. He was just a year old but it turned out fine! We had to go back a second time when he was a bit older to have blood drawn again for something else. I feel that as long as you know what you are walking in to, it is easier. Maybe you can call ahead to see exactly how their procedure goes so you can be mentally prepared? Good luck!

Yes, it's a blood draw. I went to the hospital (Bellevue) where my sons were born to have it done. They are used to drawing blood from infants, and got both my son's blood drawn on the first try, with no fuss from ANY of us (I can't stand to have my blood drawn, let alone my kids...). In fact, since they participate in my insurance, I go there myself when I have a choice.


My daughter had her blood drawn 2 times intravenosly and it went fine. They were really good with her and she survived. It helped that on both occasions, I needed to have bloodwork done too, so she saw mommy get it done first. Best of luck!

hi L., it just depends. my daughter was very upset when we did hers, i just did my sons a couple of weeks ago and he didnt even cry, i swear. he was shocked, and he kind of yelled at the tech, but he was so interested in trying to figure out what the hell she was doing over there that he was distracted. amazing. just do what you can to get someone who does kids, i was lucky both times it took no time. distract her. they did my daughters with a team of 2, and they were great. either way, its upsetting but you need to do it. hopefully it will be the worst thing you ever have to deal with. stitches is a lot worse! and we all know there is waaaaay worse than that. it will be ok.

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