When adults undergo painful procedures, we doctors place an iv and can give medications through the iv to relieve the pain. What about kids?
Sure you can put an iv and give them medications as with adults, but even putting the iv in is painful and anxiety producing.
For newborns up until about a month or two of life, having the baby suck on a sugar stick works as well if not better than narcotics. This is not suprising, considering that sugar even makes us adults feel great (but not so good for our waistline).
Children do better when distracted. For example, having them watch TV, play a video game or hold a toy takes their mind away from the procedure. Just thinking about getting something painful done does in fact increase the pain experienced, so distraction is a good idea.
If an iv is needed, a small amount of local anesthetic cream can be applied about 30 to 60 minutes before. When the iv is then placed, the child will barely feel the needle. Narcotic medications can at that point be given to the child, if needed.
It is usually better to give narcotics through the iv rather than givng a shot.IV medications can be fined tuned much easier than im (shots) and also work much faster. There is one narcotic, Fentanyl, which can be given through the nose. It is absorbed very well and is short acting, which is great for quick procedures such as reducing a bony fracture.
Bottom line is there are many options for pain control in children.