Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  I.V. Site in Children: Care Instructions
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I.V. Site in Children: Care Instructions

Common I.V. sites on arm, with close-up of I.V. on back of child's hand.

Overview

Medicines or fluids may be given through an intravenous (I.V.) tube inserted into a vein. The I.V. is most often placed in the back of your child's hand, on the forearm, or on the inside of the elbow.

When the I.V. is in place, medicines or fluids can go quickly into your child's bloodstream and into the rest of the body.

If your child had an I.V. in the hospital, the area where it was placed may be tender or have a small bruise for a while.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Check the area for bruising or swelling for a few days after your child gets home.
  • If your child has bruising or swelling, you can put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Let your child shower or bathe as usual.
  • Be gentle using the area around the I.V. site for a day or two. But your child should be able to do their usual activities, unless your doctor gave you other instructions.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness or any change in colour.
    • Reddish streaks leading from the site.
    • Pus or blood draining from the site.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You notice a large lump at the I.V. site.
  • You notice new or worse bruising at the I.V. site.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.