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Push for ‘Ouchless’ Emergency Rooms for Kids

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents, your next trip to the hospital emergency room may be a little less painful, thanks to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The report authors reviewed nearly 250 medical studies to provide guidance on how to reduce pain and stress for babies and kids in the emergency room.

“We’ve gotten a lot better at managing kids’ pain,” said author Dr. Joel Fein, an emergency room doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  “We need to do everything we can.”

Fein had three good reasons to improve ER visits for kids: his three sons.

“I want my child to have the best experience possible without being fearful of the medical system,” he said.

The report, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, outlines simple ways to reduce pain and stress in emergency rooms, including the use of pain pills and numbing creams in the waiting room.  It also recommends distracting kids with bubbles and sugar pacifiers during painful tests.

Letting a family member stick around can also have a calming effect, according to the report.

“Although there is no evidence that family presence decreases pain, their presence for procedures can decrease child distress,” Fein and colleagues wrote in their report.

While pain management in adults has come a long way, Fein said pain control in children -- particularly babies -- lags far behind.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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