This study investigated the effectiveness of a brief Distraction Education intervention for parents prior to their preschool children's medical procedures. Forty-four preschool children with chronic non-life-threatening conditions were having intravenous catheters (IVs) placed for medical tests. Parent-child dyads were randomized into two groups. The experimental group received Distraction Education prior to IV insertion; the control group received standard care. Data were analyzed for two phases of the IV procedure. Phase 1 was the preparation for needle insertion; Phase 2 began with needle insertion. Experimental group parents used significantly more distraction than did control group parents during both phases (P < 0.001). There were no group differences for child behavioral distress or self-report of pain. There was a trend toward a group by phase interaction for behavioral distress (P = 0.07); more experimental group children showed decreased behavioral distress over time (from phase 1 to phase 2) than did control group children (P = 0.02).