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How to Care for your Child's Picc (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What do I need to know about care for my child's peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC)?

A PICC can stay in place for several weeks or months. You will need to care for the PICC, and for the skin around the catheter site. Proper care is important to prevent damage to the catheter, and to prevent infections.

What can I do to prevent an infection?

The area around your child's catheter may get infected, or he or she may get an infection in his or her bloodstream. A bloodstream infection is called a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI). A CLABSI is caused by bacteria getting into your child's bloodstream through the catheter. This can lead to severe illness. The following are ways you can help prevent an infection:

How do I change the dressing and clean the area?

Change the dressing every 3 to 7 days, or as directed. Change the dressing any time it becomes wet, dirty, or moves out of place. Always change the bandage in a clean area that is free of dust. Check your child's skin every day for signs of infection, such as pain, redness, swelling, and oozing.

How do I care for the caps and tubing?

Change the caps every 3 to 7 days, or as directed.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.