This study sought to determine whether adding virtual reality (VR) was superior to standard of care alone in facilitating reduction in pain and anxiety among children who underwent intravenous catheterization in the emergency department (ED). Sixty-six children aged 6-16 years who needed intravenous placement received VR, or standard of care in the ED (videos, television, iPad, child life specialist). Outcome measures included change in pain score, level of anxiety, patient and parent satisfaction (pain and anxiety), number of trials, and procedure time. Compared with controls, the intervention group had similar age, sex, number of trials, and anesthetic use. Time of procedure was shorter in the VR group (median 5 min) but this was not statistically significant compared with 7 min for the control group. Pain in the intervention group was lower, even before the procedure. Difference in pain (before and after) and anxiety (after the procedure) were similar in both groups. Satisfaction from anxiety management was higher for the VR group (p < 0.007) and children rated VR significantly more "fun" (p < 0.024).Conclusion: VR was an effective distraction tool and increased satisfaction from anxiety management for this common pediatric procedure, and should be incorporated in management of anxiety in children in the ED setting.Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov ID NCT03681730, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03681730 What is Known: • Virtual reality is an evolving computer technology that shows some promise in the areas of acute and chronic pain management due to its ability to create effective distraction. What is New: • We report that among children in the emergency setting with intravenous catheterization, satisfaction from the use of VR for anxiety management should support implementation of VR systems for this procedure.