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CHEO uses YouTube to take the ouch out of getting a needle
 Kids need to get a flu shot – but it doesn’t need to hurt

Ottawa, October 23, 2013 — The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s (CHEO) ‘Be Sweet to Babies’ research team, led by Dr. Denise Harrison, this week launched a YouTube video demonstrating the best ways to reduce pain for babies’ immunizations. This is a must-view video for all parents of babies who are getting ready for a flu shot or their standard vaccinations.
As many parents can attest, immunizations can be painful for infants and distressing for parents. However, the majority of parents are not aware that there are simple and effective ways to reduce the pain. Research shows that breastfeeding babies or giving them sugar water (also known as sucrose), as well as holding them upright in a secure front to front position, effectively reduces pain during immunizations. Sugar water also works well for babies up to one year of age. While breastfeeding and sugar water work best for babies, upright front-front holding and distraction work for young children as well.
Unfortunately, these strategies are rarely used by health care providers and parents. There are hundreds of videos currently on YouTube of babies being injected; however, proven pain reduction techniques are not being used.
Concerned by these examples, CHEO’s Be Sweet to Babies research team carried out a review of 142 of these videos.
“We noticed almost all of the babies cried before or during their injections, with some crying solidly for over 2 minutes after the injections,” said Dr. Harrison. “No videos showed breastfeeding or use of sugar water during the injections and only four babies were held in a front-front position.”
As a result of their findings, CHEO’s Be Sweet to Babies research team decided to post their own video on YouTube demonstrating effective pain reduction techniques being put into practice. The goal of the project is to help parents and care providers to find better ways of managing children’s pain during vaccinations.
The team will monitor the number of hits, comments, Likes and Dislikes this video receives over the next 12 months. It will also monitor all newly posted videos to see whether effective pain reduction strategies are starting to be implemented as a result.
“At CHEO we believe in using evidence-driven health care to ensure the best outcomes for our children, youth and families,” said Harrison. “We hope this project will change standard practices for giving shots, therefore reducing tears and fears during injections now and in the future.”
In addition to the YouTube videos, CHEO, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health, has developed and disseminated Immunization Pain Fact sheets. These fact sheets have easy-to-follow advice on how to reduce pain during injections for babies, children and teens.
For more information about Dr. Denise Harrison and her research, visit  
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For further information, please contact:

Eva Schacherl
Communications Manager and Strategist
613-737-7600 x 3536
Cell: 613-769-5553
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