Distraction techniques should be used in conjunction with these pain meds, says Stephen Teach, associate chief of the Emergency Medicine Trauma Center at Children's National Medical Center. Teach asks parents to help. He'll say: "Here's what I'm going to do. Here's what you can do." His suggestions? Talk in your child's ear about a vacation or a favorite stuffed animal; let him play a computer game on a tablet; have her blow soap bubbles.
"It's been a gradual evolution, but now ER physicians are paying more attention to pain," Zempsky says. Health researchers want pediatricians to address the specter of pain with immunizations as well.
Parents should be more direct and advocate for pain management whether at the pediatrician's office or the emergency room, Harrison says. "Just do it," she says. "Tell your provider, "I'll be breast-feeding my child' [while the injection is being done] or 'I've brought my sugar water.' "