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About SickKids

November 29, 2007

Researchers find that quick injections for babies are less painful

TORONTO – Infants cry less when they receive immunization shots quickly than they do if the shots are administered slowly, a study by researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) shows. The research team recommends that the fast injection technique be used for routine intramuscular immunizations from now on. This research is reported in the December issue of the Archives of Childhood Diseases.

SickKids researchers measured the responses of two groups of healthy infants aged four to six months, receiving their second and third routine pentavalent vaccinations. One group of infants was vaccinated using the current “standard of care,” which involves pulling back on the syringe plunger after poking through the skin to make sure that there is no aspiration or flush back of blood, and then injecting the vaccine slowly, a procedure that took about 10 seconds to administer. The second “pragmatic” or “fast injection” group received the vaccination without aspiration and by a quick injection of the vaccine, a procedure of one second.

“In the standard of care group, 82 per cent of babies cried, and cried longer than the 42 per cent of babies who cried from the fast injection group,” says Research Institute Project Investigator Dr. Moshe Ipp, the lead investigator for the study.

Aspiration prior to injection is a widespread practice that has been used for decades to ensure that the needle does not penetrate a major blood vessel. “Although the technique is taught in medical and nursing schools, we now know that there are no major blood vessels that can be penetrated in recommended immunization sites such as the thigh,” notes Ipp.

This is the first randomized controlled trial that compares infant pain response to these two immunization techniques. Other members of the study team included Drs. Anna Taddio, Jonathan Sam, Morton Goldbach, and Patricia Parkin from the Paediatric Outcomes Research Team (PORT) at SickKids and the University of Toronto.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.

Visual footage of infant responses to both methods is available upon request.

For more information, please contact:

Media Contact
Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
Fax: 416-813-5328