This is a Guest Post from Christine Chambers (PhD, RPsych) who is a Canada Research Chair in Pain and Child Health and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre. Christine is also a psychologist who has worked to support children in pain and their families. She studies the role of developmental and psychological factors in children’s pain. She is part of the Help Eliminate Pain in Kids (HELPinKIDS) team, an interdisciplinary group of clinicians, scientists, policy makers and educators. Their goal is to improve the use of pain-relieving interventions during routine childhood vaccination. For more information about Christine's work in children's pain go to: http://pediatric-pain.ca/
Almost all children are afraid of getting shots and needles. And most parents dread having to take their children to the doctor or hospital for these painful procedures. There are many things parents can do to help their children have less pain during needles (e.g., use of topical anaesthetic creams, distraction, and deep breathing). But most parents don’t know what these things are or how to use them to reduce pain. Fewer than 5% of children receive any kind of pain relieving intervention for immunizations and one in 10 children and adults has a significant fear of needles.