Kids ages four to five are at risk of developing a lifelong phobia if we get this wrong. We have a chance to prevent lifelong needle phobia.

With COVID-19 now endemic, addressing needle fear becomes more than making a doctor’s visit more pleasant. Now, it is truly a lifesaving endeavor.”
— Amy Baxter MD, Pain Care Labs CEO and Chief Medical Officer

ATLANTA, GA, UNITED STATES, June 21, 2022 / — The CDC recommends vibration and cooling devices to manage vaccination pain and fear. Now that the FDA issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines in the youngest kids, many may be getting an extra jab with their back-to-school shots. Research shows the risk of persistent needle fear increases with the number of same-day injections: Buzzy makes the shots as painless as possible, optimizing the vaccine experience.

Older children remember a terrible experience. We have a chance to make this vaccine experience a positive one that helps kids understand the importance of vaccination, setting them on a course for a lifetime of good health. Needle pain researcher Amy Baxter MD, Pain Care Labs CEO and Chief Medical Officer, puts it more bluntly: “With COVID-19 now endemic, addressing needle fear becomes more than making a doctor’s visit more pleasant. Now, it is truly a lifesaving endeavor.”

Parents must create a plan and be prepared to discuss pain relief with the pediatrician. The MEG Foundation has great resources. Finding the right combination of addressing pain, fear, and focus improves the three-year+ experience. Per Dr. Baxter:

PREPARE YOUR CHILD – When kids ask, “Will it hurt?”, do not promise it won’t. Instead, parents can say, “A lot of kids aren’t that bothered by it. We can do things to make it more comfortable.” Find out the practice’s comfort positions. Ideally, let your child know they can sit on your lap, facing you for comfort.

USE DISTRACTION – The brain cannot fully process pain if it is busy focusing elsewhere. Patients who are appropriately distracted have less pain because the muscles are relaxed, not tensed, during a shot. Ideal distractions are new visual finding activities with a goal. Blowing on a pinwheel, or counting objects in the exam room work. Distraction Cards have the right questions for different ages on the back. Firmly direct your child to stay focused on the activity, and maintain a positive attitude. Praise your child for being willing to engage in distraction techniques.

USE BUZZY FOR IMMEDIATE PAIN RELIEF – Many offices have Buzzy, but may not have ice frozen. Portable ice is available. For a shot, put Buzzy on for 30 seconds, then move “between the brain and the pain” to keep interrupting the poke sensation. One technique: put an arm around the preschooler holding Buzzy, while distracting the child with Distraction Cards or pictures across the room. Have the clinician gently move Buzzy up to clean and inject.

MANAGE PREVIOUS BAD EXPERIENCES – Go the extra mile with topical anesthetics containing Lidocaine in advance: 30 (LMX) – 60 (EMLA) minutes before the anticipated procedure.

PROVIDE AFTERCARE – If the child is upset at all, have them take a deep breath, let them know they are finished and did great, quickly move them from the table or chair where they had the shot, and engage them with treats or activities.

Empathy in the medical setting is sorely lacking when it comes to pain management. In 1995, a study showed that 25 percent of children and 10 percent of adults feared needles. A follow-up survey in 2012 revealed that 63 percent of children and 24 percent of adults were needle-phobic. Why did those numbers increase so dramatically?

-In 1983, children typically received 6 vaccinations, all given before the age of 2.
-In 2014, children received between 30-36 shots before they were 6. They often receive several shots in one sitting.
-As the number of injections has risen and the age at which they are administered has advanced, the rate of needle phobia has risen. No surprise.

An estimated six percent of pediatricians conscientiously offer pain relief in the office setting. That means 94% of pediatricians are missing the opportunity to set the stage for success. The burden is on parents to plan for success.

Over 75 studies have shown an effective decrease in pain for injections, vaccines, blood draws, and dental procedures with Buzzy. The patented combination of vibration and ice overrides the ability of the local nerves to sense pain. For kids under age three, Buzzy is used without ice wings.
Buzzy can be used over and over again throughout a child’s life. For children, teens, and adults who have to inject medications daily (for growth hormone, insulin, arthritis medications, and others), or prick fingers multiple times to check blood sugars, the use of a device like Buzzy can make the difference between wellness and compliance, or a daily fight.

“Needle phobia is a direct threat to public health. Those who are afraid of shots may not get any healthcare,” says Dr. Baxter. With so many evidence-based ways to stop the development of needle fear, we can and must do better. This most recent EUA is an opportunity to do better.


Established in 2006 by emergency physician and pain researcher Amy Baxter MD, Pain Care Labs’ mission is to eliminate unnecessary pain. The Company’s award-winning solutions are based on a patented Oscillice® neuromodulation platform using mechanical stimulation and ice or heat to give serious, simple relief. With over 75 studies establishing efficacy, Buzzy® has been used to block pain from over 42 million needle procedures. VibraCool® is an FDA-cleared device to treat myofascial pain caused by trigger points, restricted motion, and muscle tension. For more information visit

Brian Kirsch
Press Hook
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