If your child needs to have an IV or other painful procedure (such as reduction of a fracture or suturing of laceration) there are some simple things which can be done to reduce the pain. I’m not talking about giving narcotics IV but rather about alternatives not involving narcotics.

Distraction works very well. Have you ever seen how kids love to get on the internet and play video games? Most of the time this is not such a great thing, as it keeps them from doing homework, listening or even interacting at all with you.However, when an IV needs to be placed, then the video games keep their mind off what is going to happen.

You can ask the provider if he or she can make a balloon out of a glove, which younger kids love. Again, this focuses their concentration on the balloon and not on the painful procedure.

For infants sugar works wonders (and unfortunately for many of us older adults as well). There are many studies out there which demonstrate that sugar promotes the release of endorphins or feel good hormones. If an infant is given a sugar containing sucker before a procedure, then that infant will be much less likely to cry or become otherwise agitated. You will have to ask the provider if he or she can order one of these before the procedure.

If the provider plans to put an IV in or do a spinal tap, EMLA cream which contains a powerful local anesthetic can be applied. It takes some time to work, but will definitely lower the pain from needle sticks.

Finally, for infants try to avoid bright lights and sudden movements. A mellow atmosphere promotes a mellow baby.