A Survey of Parental Barriers to Using Pain-Reduction Strategies During Childhood Immunizations

Alex Zhao, Renata Leong, William Watson


Objective: Childhood immunizations represent the most significant source of iatrogenic pain in otherwise healthy children. Consequently, children make correlations between the doctor’s office and the anticipated pain from immunizations and these have long-term consequences such as procedural anxiety, needle phobias, and non-compliance with immunization schedules. Clinical guidelines exist for reducing pain during childhood immunizations. Our study analyzed the use of pain reduction strategies and assessed the barriers that parents face in a family practice setting.
Methods: We surveyed parents at academic family practice units at St. Michael’s Hospital. A survey was developed based on a literature search and utilizing current pain reduction guidelines.
Results: 62 surveys were recorded and most parents were moderately concerned about their child’s pain. A minority of parents had experience with any pain reduction strategies and the major barriers are related to a lack of knowledge and perceptions that pain is a normal part of the immunization experience.
Conclusions: We report multiple barriers that parents face when utilizing pain reduction strategies during immunizations. While knowledge, perceptions about pain, and time represent major barriers, health care providers should take an active role in advocating for children while working together with parents

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Zhao A, Leong R, Watson, W. A Survey of Parental Barriers to Using Pain-Reduction Strategies During Childhood Immunizations. UBCMJ. 2015; 6(2):11-14.