Other useful techniques include storytelling, guided imagery (talking to kids about a special place or event), blowing soap bubbles and, not surprisingly,
Such distractions might require a rethinking of the doctor visit. For years the protocol in many pediatric practices has been to give out stickers or candy after kids get their shots. "Why not put something in place before the injection?" asks Denise Harrison, a nurse and researcher at the University of Ottawa.
In a 2010 study, Harrison found that in 13 of 14 clinical trials, use of a sugar solution — typically given orally two minutes before an injection — reduced babies' crying upon getting the shot.
Harrison and William Zempsky, head of pain medicine at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, are part of a group of
In the ER, sometimes kids need strong pain medications, but there's a reluctance to give such drugs to children, especially very young ones. "Studies show that kids under 2 years don't get appropriate pain meds," Zempsky says, noting that physicians and parents are fearful of giving them opiate drugs such as morphine. "But these drugs are safe and effective and appropriate to use," he says, especially with painful injuries such as a fracture or a scald burn.