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  • Worth Knowing – Mom thoughts on Pain Management in Children

    Leyla is due to get her ears pierced this month together with her next bout of vaccines. I am super nervous and am going to use topical analgesics and oral pain relievers to reduce her pain and prevent my mental anguish. This brings me to my position as a mommy and a pharmacist concerning appropriate pain management in children.

    Image courtesy of: Sual Nualpradid/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    The following information is taken from the Pharmacist Letter “Practical considerations in pediatric pain management” Vol 2010.

    The CDC reports (2007) that children before the age of 6 will receive 20 injections based on the current childhood immunization schedule. Since young children cannot communicate pain verbally they are under treated for pain management. Often times as adults we feel that by empathizing and apologizing for our child’s pain we are alleviating their pain; quite the contrary; such behaviors are considered as distress promoting behaviors.

    The best methods to help minimize pain response in kids who are receiving injections, is to consider these techniques:

    • Distraction (humor, blowing bubbles, playing with a pin wheel, listening to music with headphones)
    • Swaddling for infants
    • Oral sucrose solution for infants younger than six months
    • Rubbing the skin after a needle stick
    • Relaxation
    • Breathing exercises
    • Guided imagery, involving children in a fantasy


    NSAIDS (like Motrin), acetaminophen, and aspirin are widely used for treatment of pain and fever in children. You should check the American Pediatric Association for further info or consult with your doctor.

    I should also mention topical analgesics to reduce pain related to injection site administration. I will be considering these options for the upcoming ear piercing. EMLA (2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocane) is a prescription product that takes 1 hour to take effect. Ask your doctor for a prescription. EMLA-MAX (lidocaine 4%) is OTC and takes 30 minutes for onset of action but has not been studied for relief of immunization pain.

    I hope this helps anxious mommies like me (and daddies). I will keep you all posted on drugs and bugs, let me know if you have any questions!

    Dr. Sadia Raja is a clinical Pharmacist at Baptist Health Systems. She received her Doctorate in Pharmacy at University of Buffalo, New York. Her interests are pediatric and critical care medicine. She resides in the Brickell area and has a 1 year old girl. If there is a topic you would like her to cover please email us.



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