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Pain Management and Evaluation
Common Myths About Children's Pain
Common Myths About Infant's Pain
Pain Control for Children


Infants (0-12 months)

Babies feel pain, even though they are unable to talk and tell you that they hurt. Besides crying, babies have changes in their vital signs when they are in pain. Their heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increases. Nurses use pain "scales" such as the CRIES and OPS scale, to measure these changes to help them evaluate the amount of pain your baby is having. These tools can be helpful, particularly when a baby is too sick to cry. Parents can help doctors and nurses tell the difference between a "pain" cry and other types of crying. Please let your doctor or nurse know if you think your baby is having pain.

Many medications are available to treat your baby's pain and the doctors will order the ones best suited to help your baby. In addition to medications, there are also many other ways to help relieve pain. Here are some things that may help relieve your baby's pain:

  • Talking in a soothing voice or softly singing
  • Rocking, patting, rubbing and holding your baby
  • A pacifier, bottle or breast
  • Being there with your baby
  • Distractions such as "peek-a-boo", blowing soap bubbles, colorful or musical toys
  • Soothing music
  • Soft and decreased lighting
  • Minimal noise

Toddlers (1-3 years of age)

Toddlers feel pain, even though they are not always able to tell you clearly with words. Nurses and doctors will use a pain scale to help evaluate your toddler's pain. As a parent, you know more than anyone when your child is in pain. Please let the doctor or nurse know if you think your child is having pain. Please let us know what word(s) that your child uses for pain, how you know when your child is in pain, and what works best to decrease or take away your child's pain. It is important for children and their parents to understand that pain can be managed and in some cases even prevented.

Many medications are available to treat your child's pain. Doctors will order the pain medication best suited for their needs and medical condition. In addition to medication, there are many things you can do to comfort your child and relieve their pain. The following measures can help:

  • Distractions such as soap bubbles, soft music, colorful action toys, and/or videos
  • A favorite toy, video, book, blanket or security object
  • Soft lighting and minimal noise
  • Hold and cuddle your child
  • Touch or softly rub your child's skin
  • Hold hands
  • Read familiar stories or sing softly
  • Rock in a rocking chair or sway back and forth
  • Swaddle your child snugly in a soft blanket

Pre-Schoolers (3-6 years)

It is important that your child be as comfortable as possible. Controlling pain can help with the healing process. Sometimes it is hard to know if a young child is hurting. Nurses use pain "scales" such as the Oucher Scale to help determine how much pain a child is having. These tools can be helpful when a child is too sick to cry or tell us about their pain. As a parent, you know better than anyone if your child is hurting. Please let the nurse know if you think your child is having pain. It is important for children and their parents to understand that pain can be managed and in some cases even prevented.

Many medications are available to treat your child's pain. Doctors will order the pain medication that is best for your child and medical condition. In addition to medication, there are many things you can do to comfort your child and relieve his/her pain. Here are some things that may help relieve your child's pain:

  • Distractions such as bubbles, music, or colorful action toys
  • Their favorite toy, book, video, blanket, or security object
  • Holding and rocking your child
  • Reading stories and singing to your child
  • Slow, rhythmic breathing
  • Touching or rubbing your child's skin
  • Minimal noise and lighting
  • Soft music
  • Pretend roles or situations
  • Imagining a favorite person or place

School Age Children (6-12 years)

It is important that your child be as comfortable as possible. Controlling pain can help with the healing process. Sometimes it is hard to know if a young child is hurting. Nurses use pain "scales" such as the Oucher Scale to help determine how much pain a child is having. These tools can be helpful when a child is too sick to cry or tell us about their pain. As a parent, you know better than anyone if your child is hurting. Please let your nurse or doctor know if you think your child is having pain. It is important for children and their parents to understand that pain can be managed and in some cases even prevented.

Many medications are available to treat your child's pain. Doctors will order the pain medication that is best suited for your child and medical condition. In addition to medication, there are many things you can do to comfort your child and relieve his/her pain. The following examples can help:

  • Distractions such as bubbles, music, or colorful action toys
  • A favorite toy, book, video, blanket, or security object
  • Reading stories and singing to your child
  • Holding and rocking your child
  • Slow, rhythmic breathing
  • Touching or rubbing your child's skin
  • Soft music
  • Minimal noise and low lighting
  • Pretend roles or situations
  • Imagining a favorite person or place

Adolescents

It is very important to manage your teen's pain. When pain is controlled it helps them get well faster and makes it easier to heal, do breathing exercises, move around and gain strength. The doctors and nurses will use a pain scale to measure your teen's pain. You know your teen better than anyone and can help us to know when they are having pain. Please tell the nurse or doctor if you think your teen is having pain. It is important for teens and their parents to understand that pain can be managed and in some cases even prevented. Teens who are in pain are often able to distract themselves by playing video games, watching movies, talking on the phone, and sleeping. This helps them deal with their pain and should not be mistaken for not having pain.

Many medications are available to treat your teen's pain. Doctors will order the pain medication best for your child and medical condition. The following measures can help ease pain and increase comfort for your teen:

  • Talk softly and remain near their head
  • Help them assume a comfortable position
  • Hold hands
  • Provide music with headphones
  • Help with progressive relaxation
  • Encourage verbalization
  • Guide them in imagining a pleasant real or imagined experience
  • Use distractions such as reading, crafts, videos, video games
  • Prepare and rehearse for painful events without planting the idea of pain.
  • Praise your teen frequently



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