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Using the J-Tip® for less needle pain


Some treatments, such as starting an IV or putting a needle in a port, are painful. We want to help your child have less pain whenever possible. One way to do this is to numb the skin first. We might use a small device called a J-Tip® to do this.

The J-Tip® uses high-pressure gas to push a numbing medicine called lidocaine (LIE-doe-kane) into the top layer of skin. If you did not use lidocaine cream on your child’s skin before you came to your appointment, you can ask the nurse to use the J-Tip®.

How the J-Tip® works

Using the J-Tip® does not hurt most children, but it does make a loud pop or hissing noise, much like opening a can of soda. Child Life can let your child listen to a recording of the sound. The gas does not come into contact with your child’s skin, but they might feel a small gush of air. The J-Tip® numbs the skin within one (1) minute.

The nurse should use the J-Tip® no longer than 5 minutes before the needle procedure. For the best results, the nurse should wait one (1) minute before using the needle.

How often can my child have lidocaine?

Your child may have up to 3 doses of lidocaine per day, with no time between doses unless the doctor who prescribed it agrees to more doses. Your child can get their doses as a cream or from the J-Tip®. If you give a dose with lidocaine cream, you should know that half a tube is one (1) dose. Your child can have the J-Tip® and lidocaine cream put in the same place.

The J-Tip® should not be used:

  • By anyone who is allergic to lidocaine (Xylocaine) or other local anesthetics (pain relievers).
  • On damaged skin – Such as bruised, swollen, cut or scraped areas, or any place with a rash or infection.
  • Anywhere your child is having radiation treatment.
  • To numb the skin over a subcutaneous port (SQP).
  • For an IV or port that staff will use to give certain medicines within 2½ hours. These medicines are ones that could cause blisters, such as MRI contrast dye. Your child needs to be able to feel any irritation so we can treat blisters quickly if they happen. If your child had lidocaine cream earlier, it needs to wear off before they get any medicine that could cause blisters.
  • In the eyes, ears, mouth, and other mucous membranes.

Your medical team will let you know if the J-Tip® is an option for your child.

Special instructions

Side effects of lidocaine

All medicines have side effects. Some lidocaine side effects are mild, and you do not need to tell your child’s doctor about them. These include:

  • Skin turning white where you put the lidocaine cream. It might turn red later but will go back to its usual color in time.
  • Swelling, itching, or rash. These side effects should go away after one (1) or 2 hours. If not, tell your child’s doctor.

Tell your child’s doctor right away about the following side effects.

  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or sleepy
  • Feeling nervous or confused
  • Hearing a ringing noise
  • Having blurry vision or seeing double
  • Throwing up (vomiting) suddenly
  • Feeling hot, cold, or numb all over
  • Twitching or shaking

Take the lidocaine cream off your child’s skin if they have any of these side effects. Next, call 901-595-3300 and ask to speak to your child’s doctor or nurse. After office hours, ask for the doctor on call. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0.

Call 911 if your child has breathing problems or seizures. Take the lidocaine cream off the skin.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).