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Health: 'Five S's' ease babies' pain during vaccinations

Some physical comfort and a soothing voice may make routine vaccinations a little easier on babies without resorting to painkillers like acetaminophen, a new study suggests

Reuters, Thursday 19 Apr 2012
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It's no secret that vaccine jabs create distress, for infants and parents alike. The usual routine in pediatricians' offices is to get the shots done quickly and then pass the baby into mom's arms for some comfort.

But in the new study, researchers tested the so-called "5 S's" approach -- a method of soothing a fussy baby popularized by pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp in the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block."

The "S's" stand for swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking.

As soon as the vaccine is given, the baby is wrapped snuggly in a blanket, then placed on her side or stomach and gently "shushed" and rocked a bit. If that doesn't do the trick, she's given a pacifier.

Based on the new study, the result is less pain and a lot less crying, said Dr. John W. Harrington, of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, who led the study.

Different infants will respond to different methods of comfort, whether it's swaddling, a pacifier or being rocked, Harrington said. "If you do all of (the 5 S's), you're likely to hit upon the one that will help a child soothe himself."

 

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