Blood tests for children

When booking your blood test please visit the page below for information on what to do before including how to numb the skin in preparation. 

Booking your appointment

  • At Wexham Park and Frimley Park hospitals, we do not accept walk in blood tests. All appointments should be booked via SwiftQueue online using this link.
  • Please select from the children’s blood tests option if your child is under 10; you can choose between Wexham Park and Frimley Park.
  • If your child is over 10 they will need to chose the adult option but please do still use the numbing cream before. 
  • If your GP has requested a blood test for your child, you will need to bring the completed blood form with you.

What you need to do before your appointment

Before your blood test appointment, it will help if your child has a lot to drink (water if fasting) and you keep them warm prior to their appointment. If you or the child is anxious, you can apply local anaesthetic cream, EMLA or its equivalent to both inner elbows 90 minutes before the test. Please see information about this below.

Applying local topical anaesthetic cream before having a blood test

It is recommended that any child over 6 months of age is to be offered a local anaesthetic cream before to their procedure. This helps to reduce pain caused by the insertion of the needle. Your GP can prescribe anaesthetic cream, or you can buy it over the counter at a pharmacy.

The places suggested to take blood or cannulate include the back of both hands and inside both elbows (antecubital fossa). The healthcare professional taking the blood will select the best site when your child is in the blood test centre.

The local anaesthetic should be applied to all four areas: back of both hands and the creases of both elbows,  before the procedure.

It may be necessary to apply the cream to the top of the feet if there have been difficulties obtaining blood in the past. We recommend that you do not leave the cream on for longer than the suggested time as this gives no further benefit. Cream should NOT be applied to broken skin or wounds, or if the child has active eczema.

Please do not let your child lick the cream. If this happens, encourage them to drink plenty of water and call 111 if you are concerned that they have swallowed a large amount.

Approved creams application times


Blood test


Number of tubes allowed (max)



30 mins

40 mins

1 tube under 5 years 5 tubes over 5 years



30 mins

60 mins

1g tube under 1 year Up to 2.5g over 1 year

EMLA / Nulbia


60 mins

60 mins

1 tube under 5 years 2 tubes over 5 years

Where and how to apply the cream

1. Apply a pea-sized amount of cream to the back of both hands and inside of the elbow in the crease. DO NOT RUB IN.

2. Cover with the dressing supplied. If you do not have a dressing, wrap 3 layers of cling film around the areas, ensure the cream is covered.

3. See table above for the suggested time the cream needs to be in place. Please do this before coming to the hospital as it will delay other patients if applied at appointment time, and you may be asked to re-book.

4. After the suggested application time, your nurse will remove the dressing and cream and will locate the best spot to take blood or insert cannula.

5. Cream should not be left on for longer that the stated time as this can cause irritation and will have no benefit to the procedure.

6. The areas will remain numb for up to 4 hours.

Worried about your blood test


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