Blood Tests and Barium Swallow. How to Prepare Five Year-old?

Updated on January 29, 2008
C.T. asks from Athens, GA
6 answers

My five year-old son who is the most delightful, happy little guy in the world is about to have blood tests and a barium swallow done. He is scared to the point I do not even think we can get him into the hospital waiting room. We have always been honest with our children about shots coming up. We tell them they hurt and are a bit scary, but afterwards they can pick out a special snack or small toy. It has always payed off, and we have never had problems before. Adrian, however, though usually the bravest one of them all, had a meltdown when he was told he had to drink the barium swallow and have something taken OUT of his arm this time. We have brought up the fact that there would definately be a Thomas toy in it for him, but he says NO WAY! In his defense, he has suffered from reflux on and off since he stopped nursing when he was 18 mos old, and unusual flavors seem to make this problem much worse. I think he is afraid the barium will make him throw up even more. Do any of you have ideas on how to tackle this? He is going in Monday, but he says NO, BLOOD GOES IN ME, IF A NURSE TAKES IT OUT SHE WILL MAKE ME SICK MOMMY! Thank you for your input.

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So What Happened?

Adrian did great after all. We showed him what having blood drawn looks like instead of describing it; that made him feel much better. Thank you all for responding!

More Answers



answers from Charleston on

Can you arrange to have him watch someone else have blood drawn? And emphasize it is much less painful to have blood drawn than having ANYTHING injected!

As far as the swallow...I think you should down-play it as much as possible. If you are nervous about it, he will be as well. Since he is only 5, you might try to be a bit less informative.



answers from Savannah on

Poor little guy!!! I can feel for him, I had to drink contrast for a CT scan and that was horrible!!! But if I remember correctly, berium is or can be mixed with stuff to help try to make it taste good. And in case they didn't tell you, he'll have to drink some Sprite type stuff afterwards so the barium will get out of his system too. But the hospital should be able to work with a young child to help make him comfy and less scary for him. As far as the blood work goes. Have you tried to explain to him that she will only take a little bit of blood and that his body will make more to replace it. Also, have you talked with the DR that has ordered the GI test? If not, let him know how freaked your son is and maybe they can have something to give him on stand by to help him relax for it all.

Good luck and I hope it goes easy for everyone!!



answers from Columbia on

Poor little guy! Have you tried maybe going on the internet to see if there are pictures of what is going to be done with him.(pictures of how the barium works.)That way he would be able to get a better understanding of what is going to happen. I wish you luck



answers from Savannah on

You are definitely on the right track with being honest with your son. When I was 5 I had hospital tests and to this day (I'm 36), i remember being deceived about what was going to happen. Here's what I suggest:

Be firm but loving to your son. (Remember ultimately you *are* in charge, and he WILL have to have these tests.) Remind him that Mommy is always honest with him, and that you would never let anything that was bad for him happen to him. Remind him he can trust you. I'm sure you've already told him that having blood taken is no worse than having a shot (and I personally think it's easier and less painful!), and that the Barium swallow won't hurt at all, and it will help figure out what's wrong and help him feel better. Be sure to be as positive and encouraging as you can without lying to him. Be cheerful but firm. Kids pick up on our emotional reactions, so be sure to be strong for his sake. Ultimately, you may have to hold him down and weather the tantrum, and I know that is SO emotionally painful as a parent. When he grows up, he'll understand the reasons and respect you for it, and there won't be any lingering resentment about having been deceived.

Good luck!

S., SAHM of 4 boys



answers from Atlanta on

I'm sure it is scary to Adrian and at 5, he does not have the tools to fully understand. Are you opposed to using a
sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help him relax and not fight this?
In my opinion that would be helpful in reducing the trauma of it all. I'm sure you have considered this or are maybe going to do that but just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in. Good luck and let us know how he does.



answers from Savannah on

Poor little guy. well for starters my 5 yr old just had the same things done to him about two weeks ago. without any warning. he didn't do to well with the berrie flavored one. it was to thick for him. they have another one that the lady called apple juice. which took him a minute but he drank it. about drawing blood. my older son would throw a fit. but this one particular time because he was flippin out they had to stick like 7 or 8 times. before they got one they could use. (i now have no problems getting him to sit still for blood drawing he would rather have one stick cry get it over with) so i reminded my 5 yr old about this. when they came in i asked him one or 8. he sat pretty still. i don't know if that help but see if it'll calm him a bit if you explain that. give him water some time before they draw blood.

Next question: Anyone Have a Child Go Through a Swallow Study with Barrium?