Babies don't like shots any more than the rest of us do. Researchers in Toronto report on using a gel to make a shot less painful.
What the researchers wanted to know: Does a pain reliever gel make a subcutaneous measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shot less painful for babies?
What they did: Healthy 1-year-olds who were getting their routine MMR shot were invitedwell, actually, they didn't get to decide, but their parents were invitedto take part in this study. Each baby had either a placebo gel or the pain reliever, which was 4 percent amethocaine gel (Ametop), smeared on the upper part of the arm. Half an hour or so later, the skin was wiped, and the pediatrician gave the shot while a parent held the baby. Each baby's reaction was captured on video, and someone watched the tapes later to assess the babies' unhappiness. No one in this process knew which baby had gotten the real gel and which the placebo. A while after the vaccination, some of the babies had blood taken to make sure that the MMR vaccination had worked.
What they found: Babies who had the anesthetic gel felt less pain than those who had the placebo put on, and the anesthetic didn't seem to stop the MMR vaccine from working.
What the study means to you: Perhaps this could be a way to lessen the guilt of putting babies through all those shots.
Find out more: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website will tell you what vaccinations your child needs
Read the article: O'Brien, L., et al. "Topical 4% Amethocaine Gel Reduces the Pain of Subcutaneous Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination." Pediatrics. December 2004, Vol. 114, No. 6, pp. e720e724.
Abstract online: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org