Minimizing Pain in Children when Visiting the Doctor

• Administer oral pain relief before the office visit, if desired and okayed by your doctor.

• Vibration and Cold devices, like Buzzy, are available on Amazon, and studies have shown a very effective decrease in pain for injections, vaccines, procedures, blood draws and even oral injections during dental procedures. Vibration (from the buzzy device) and Cold (from the frozen wings) essentially override the local nerves’ ability to sense pain (think of this as confusing the local pain brigade) and if held “between the pain and the brain” for 15-60 seconds before the procedure, combined with the use of distraction cards (and good parental planning) Buzzy can be used over and over again through a child’s life. • Topical anesthetics containing Lidocaine should be applied 15-30 minutes before the anticipated procedure – these require a prescription if not available in your doctor office, and are pricey (about $2.80/dose for EMLA and $5-7/dose for LMX). So planning ahead is key. • Vapocoolant sprays like Ethyl Chloride or Fluori-Methane are very effective and inexpensive (about $0.25/dose). These cool the skin temporarily to 0 degrees with a 4-7 second spray directed at the injection site. Alternately a cotton ball can be saturated with the spray, held closely to the skin for 5-10 seconds and then the injection given immediately after. JJ Levenstein, MD FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician. You can take parenting classes with instruction by Dr. Levenstein online by visiting Also, find helpful parenting products at