In this section
At some point in their lives, many children will need to have
a medical test or a procedure such as a blood test, stitches, an injection, x-ray, or other type of medical imaging.
Here are some tips on how
to help your child feel less scared and stressed. It is
natural for adults to promise children that a test or procedure
will be "pain free" or only "hurt a little." As adults, we
want to protect our children. Children, however, report being told this
not helpful, and it often makes the event scarier.
There are different types
of pain messages that our bodies send to our brain. For instance, our brain will send a message to our body if we touch something too
hot or too cold. If we hurt or injure ourselves a pain message is
sent to remind our body to rest and or seek help. It's a natural
process in our bodies.
There are many ways to make
a procedure more comfortable for children and adolescents, for example distraction, relaxation and breathing work very well. These can be
used with pain relieving medicine to reduce pain.
Always give your child an honest answer. For example, an honest
alternative to saying "this is going to hurt" is to say "some
children say it hurts a bit, others are not so
Many parents find it
helpful to understand that children often express or use the word "pain"
to describe fear, distress and anxiety.
A cream that numbs the skin and can be very
effective if your child needs an injection or a drip. It needs
to be applied to the skin 45 minutes before the
Sweet tasting sugar and water solution is given
to infants under 18 months old to relieve pain and minimise their distress.
These medicines are helpful for:
Or if recommended by your child's GP, surgeon or
Sedations are medicines that can help reduce
anxiety and fear. Some help reduce pain if it's anticipated during
the procedure. Please discuss these with the staff before your child's appointment.
Ensure your child is given an explanation
about the procedure from a hospital staff member or
GP. Children report it's important to for them to know:
It may help you to re-explain things to your child and answer
for children to decide whether they want to lie down or sit for the
procedure, but check with the person doing the test first. Young children may like to sit on your knee, as this
provides security and comfort. Older children may prefer to sit by
themselves and actually watch the procedure as it happens.
Developed by Comfort Kids. First
uploaded January 2007. Updated November 2010.