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Keeping babies warm may ease injection pain

The recommended techniques to ease babies’ pain when administering injections could be wrong, according to new research.

The study, published in the medical journal Pain and carried out by the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, found that keeping a baby warm and comfortable could provide effective relief from the pain of vital injections.

Other, more widely used techniques, such as giving babies sugar pills or dummies or suckling the infant were not found to be as effective as keeping the child warm.

During the small-scale test, in which 47 healthy infants were split into three groups for three different pain relief techniques, those babies which were suckled or given sugar pills stopped crying and grimacing long after those kept warm before an injection.

Commenting in the report, the researchers behind the tests said warming is “natural, easy and better performed” than other methods.

Drug-free ways of limiting the amount of pain felt by infants during injections are in high demand among medical practitioners. More effective drug-based pain reliefs are not used because of concerns that they could cause serious damage while an infant’s brain is still in its early development stage.

Readers' comments (2)

  • This is interesting but I would like to know how the babies were kept warm; perhaps that produced the analgesic effect rather than the actual warming.

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  • isn't it a natural response to seek comfort in warmth when in pain or in distress?

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