August 17, 2006
TV more effective than hugs for child pain: study
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Television can act like a painkiller when it comes to children and is more effective than a mother's comforting, according to a small Italian study.
The University of Siena study, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, was based on 69 children aged seven to 12 who were divided into three groups to have blood taken.One group was given no distraction while the blood was being taken while mothers of children in the second group attempted to distract the youngsters by talking to them, soothing, and/or caressing them.
In the third group, the children were allowed to watch television cartoons while the procedure was being carried out.
After the samples were taken, the children and their mothers rated their pain scores.
The children recording the highest pain scores were in the group getting no distraction. These scores were about three times as high as those recorded by children allowed to watch the cartoons.
Children comforted by their mothers recorded middling scores.
On average, the mothers rated pain scores higher than the children but they also recorded the lowest pain scores for children who had been allowed to watch television.
"The higher pain level reported by children during mothers' efforts at distraction shows the difficulty mothers have in interacting positively at a difficult moment in their children's life," the researchers said in their report.
They added that watching television also seemed to increase children's pain tolerance.