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Helping your child with pain

Infants (Birth to 12 months)

  • Caregivers can request to remain with infant during procedures
  • Encourage sucking, lullaby music and gentle touching
  • Assume natural swaddling position
  • Request to use Sucrose during painful procedures (under 6 months)
  • Turn down lights and avoid loud noises

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Toddlers (1 to 3 years)

  • Caregivers can request to remain with toddlers during procedures
  • Familiarize toddlers with hospital and procedures through simple medical play with a doll
  • Keep favorite items such as a blanket, toy or stuffed animal close to child
  • Use toys such as bubbles and books to distract child
  • Request a numbing agent for procedures involving injections or needle sticks
  • Request to use a treatment room for painful procedures
  • Keep routines as normal and consistent as possible

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Preschool (3 to 6 years)

  • Caregivers can request to remain with preschoolers during procedures
  • Familiarize preschoolers with hospital and procedures through medical play with a doll
  • Encourage the child to handle medical supplies through play
  • Provide preschooler with clear and direct explanation for procedures
  • Reinforce that illness, tests or procedures are not the child's fault
  • Involve preschooler in care and treatment by giving him or her a job
  • Provide distraction such as blowing bubbles or looking at books
  • Request to use a treatment room for painful procedures
  • Reward child often for positive outcomes and cooperation

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School-Age (7 to 12 years)

  • Caregivers can request to remain with child during procedures
  • Prepare child by providing simple explanations through play
  • Request a numbing agent for procedures involving injections or needle sticks
  • Request to use a treatment room for painful procedures
  • Provide distraction such as blowing bubbles or looking at picture books
  • Encourage relaxation with quiet music, guided imagery or deep breathing
  • Offer choices during painful procedures
  • Coach the child through the procedure and remind him or her the pain will not last forever
  • Reward the child often for positive outcomes related to the painful experience

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Teens (13 to 17 years)

  • Caregivers can request to remain with teens
  • Prepare teen by providing explanation and encouraging questions
  • Request a numbing agent for procedures involving needle sticks
  • Encourage relaxation with quiet music, guided imagery, deep breathing or massage
  • Involve the teen in all decisions related to care and procedures
  • Encourage socialization with friends and family
  • Coach teen through the procedure and remind him or her the pain will not last forever
  • Stress positive outcomes related to the painful experience

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