home
RSS
The '5 S's': Easing baby pain after vaccine shots
The "5S's" include swaddling (tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket almost like a burrito) and a side/stomach position such as this.
April 16th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

The '5 S's': Easing baby pain after vaccine shots

For most parents -  even the strongest believers in the benefits of vaccines - anticipating how their newborns' facial expressions will turn from curious to shock before they burst into tears from the needle stick, can make the next well-baby check-up something they would love to skip.

But doctors at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, have found an easy way - actually five easy ways - to help calm a baby's pain (and anxiety), without any medication.

It's called the "5 S's":  swaddling (tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket almost like a burrito), side/stomach position, shushing sounds, swinging and sucking.

If babies were doing four out of five of these "S's," they would usually stop crying within 45 seconds after the shot, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Parents aren't the only ones who are concerned about the pain babies feel when they get vaccine shots. Doctors and nurses - the ones sticking the needles into the little babies - are too.

In the past, doctors would recommend giving an infant some baby Tylenol or Advil, to prevent any possible fever from developing and also to provide pain relief.  But that changed a few years ago when a study, published in the medical journal The Lancet,  found  that giving acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) before or after vaccination actually made the vaccine less effective because fewer antibodies were produced.

Watch more about easing vaccine pain for babies

Breastfeeding can help reduce pain and calm a child because it gives the infant comforting skin-to-skin contact and  distracts the child. Also, mother's milk contains sugar which is known to have pain-relieving effects.  However, if a mother is no longer breastfeeding or uncomfortable doing so in a pediatrician's exam room, that's not really an option.

So the standard of care for helping reduce pain stemming from vaccinations or circumcision or drawing blood has been sugar.

"A lot of neonatologists use sugar for a painful procedure," says lead study author Dr. John Harrington. "It's poor medicine not to give sugar before medical procedures because it does work."

On the other hand Harrington, who is a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, says if children keep getting sugar to help relieve pain, that doesn't help alleviate the obesity problem we have today.

So Harrington was searching for something that would provide a pain-relief alternative.  A guest lecture given by Dr. Harvey Karp, creator of the DVD and book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" gave him the idea for his study.

Karp had found that when parents use the "5 S's" it triggers a calming reflex in the baby.  Harrington knew many parents found this method to be helpful with colicky babies, so he decided to see how it would work when giving vaccinations in his clinic.

He devised a trial with 230 healthy infants who came to his clinic for regular check-ups at 2- and 4-months of age.  They were divided into four groups:  One group was given 2 millilitres of water  2 minutes before getting the vaccine.

The second group was given 2 millilitres of sugar-water.

The third group was only given the "5 S's" after the shot.

And the last group was given 2 millilitres of sugar-water before the shot and the "5 S's" after the vaccination.

At least four of the "5 S's" had to be completed (babies were not always able to suck on a pacifier because they were either crying too hard, already calming down or unfamiliar with a pacifier.

Harrington and his team thought the sugar solution plus the physical intervention using the "5 S's" would be most effective.  The study authors reported that "the pain scores and crying time in the group of physical intervention alone were essentially identical and sometimes even lower than the physical intervention with sucrose group."

Harrington says the babies who only received the sugar solution were still crying 2 minutes after getting the shot.  But most of the babies who got the physical intervention stopped crying by 45 seconds.

"By a minute [following the shot], nobody was crying or making any sort of fuss at all," he says.

Dr. Karp wasn't involved in the study but he says this research shows the that the "5 S's" are twice as effective as sugar, which has been the gold standard up until now.  But he believes Harrington's study actually underestimates the effectiveness of the "5 S's" because the sugar-water is given 2 minutes before the shot and the swaddling and swinging etc. didn't begin until 15 to 30 seconds after the shot.

Karp recommends doctors swaddle the baby before the procedure and just leave the legs exposed (that's where the injections in young babies are made), thus triggering the calming reflex before the procedure.  He also recommends doctors have a white-noise CD on before the shot is given.  "That will give a much faster [calming] response," says Karp.  He says white noise is as important as swaddling when it comes to triggering an infants calming reflex and should be used until the baby's first birthday.

This is the second study that shows how the "5 S's" help babies, says Karp. "A 2011 Penn State report found the '5 S’s' helped increase infant sleep and reduce infant obesity."

The study authors acknowledge they tested their hypothesis on more 2-month olds than 4-month olds.  They attribute that to parents being so amazed by the calming effects of swaddling etc. when they came in for the 2-month check-up, they then asked to learn how to do it themselves.  Therefore the number of parents in the test group who didn't use the "5 S's" to calm their babies at the next (4-month) visit was very small.  Harrington acknowledges that more research needs to be done to validate his study, but the results show you don't need a spoon full of sugar to get a vaccination because using the "5 S's" is more effective.

The real benefit, he says, is that "the parents had learned that they could soothe their child without giving their child sugar or giving medicine."

If this leads to less stress and anxiety at doctors visits, that doesn't hurt either.


soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Chrystal Rohlman

    hi!,I really like your writing very a lot! proportion we communicate more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert on this house to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Having a look forward to look you.

    http://www.lpqn1XJjTn.com/lpqn1XJjTn

    March 28, 2017 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. home warranty

    Is it OK to share on Linkedin? Keep up the fantastic work!

    http://thehomewarranty.tumblr.com/

    April 22, 2017 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marketing Consultant

      It's weird but for some reason your blog takes about a minute to fully load on my dads tablet. Where did you discover this stuff? It is almost like you wrote a book on it or something. Your viewpoint is really refreshing. I really enjoy this! Reading your content is way better than snuggles.

      https://talent.hubstaff.com/profiles/jesse-grillo

      December 18, 2018 at 03:31 | Report abuse |
  3. Jesse Grillo Jesse Grillo

    You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content. After looking over a number of the article posts on your blog, I seriously like your way of blogging.

    http://cherrybombswimwear.com/links

    August 30, 2017 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. best public relations

    My boyfriend introduced me to your blogs. Your write ups are magnificent. Your blogs really makes me think. It is very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area.

    https://github.com/releaseoUXHWsU

    August 31, 2017 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. CEO adviser

    You remind me of my aunt. You are always learning new things and trying to better yourself, which is awesome.

    https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/70893176-ceo-adviser

    August 31, 2017 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cbd Drops

      This article has proven useful to me. Each of these options has its own merits and demerits that can ease decision making when broken down. Your website was already loaded when I started my computer. After seeing your stuff I am scared I will never be the same. This website looks just like my old blog. This article really made me think about things.

      http://www.sofiya.co.in/102706/a2m3k32vr8rd8dfxtbkv/

      December 30, 2018 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  6. Jesse Grillo

    Oh my gosh! A cool article. Your writing style reminds me of my girlfriend. Your website is loved by my friend. great post! Wow, that is a really good way of thinking about it!

    http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/GrillouyUqUeB

    September 1, 2017 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jesse Grillo

    You remind me of my dad back in North Dakota. I will bookmark this. I know seasoned Instagram pros would really like your website. I am going to follow you on Blog.

    http://www.authorstream.com/JessecCiUXWRc/

    September 4, 2017 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Zachariah Fuerstenberge

    I was looking through some of your content on this internet site and I conceive this site is rattling informative ! Continue putting up.

    http://www.paintballtalavera.com/yobasket.es/modules/mod_jw_srfr/redir.php?url=https://topsellers.website/htc-vive-virtual-reality-system/

    June 1, 2018 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Shera Etsuko

    Mais offrir est le vrai moyen d'obliger. https://www.cialis20.fr

    December 6, 2019 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. comment acheter cialis montreal

    Non creder cio che tu odi, https://www.cialis20.fr Their gentle, unfailing efficacy, their.

    December 6, 2019 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Faustino

    먹튀검증

    Verification information and recommendation list to soundly utilize the 먹튀검증사이트

    October 12, 2020 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Helen

    It's very effortless to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing at this site.

    Take a look at my website ... pet friendly apartments houston tx

    November 24, 2020 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. FnrdEncox

    yourstabs viagra viagra results photos various kinds of viagra

    November 24, 2020 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. FdbvZisse

    sildenafil 100mg tablets in india ordering viagra from india sildenafil generic drug cost

    November 24, 2020 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DbsfZisse

    canadian pharmacy brand viagra sildenafil buy paypal viagra 100mg buy online

    November 24, 2020 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Lena

    Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?

    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss
    and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know
    my audience would enjoy your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me
    an email.

    Also visit my website :: best keto diet apps

    November 25, 2020 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Deloras

    I just couldn't depart your web site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the
    usual info a person provide to your guests? Is gonna be again ceaselessly in order to inspect new posts

    Here is my webpage: หวย

    November 25, 2020 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Parent

    Gantt Charts in SAP UI5 are a useful way of showing what work is scheduled to be done on a specific day. They also help us to view the start date and end date of a project in one simple view.

    November 25, 2020 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. KbrgMile

    online generic viagra prescription how to purchase viagra order viagra from mexico

    November 26, 2020 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. JsweCrulk

    viagra online fast delivery where to buy viagra cheap cheap sildenafil uk

    November 26, 2020 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. DbsfZisse

    canadian viagra prescription cost of 50mg viagra in canada viagra super

    November 26, 2020 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FmsgEncox

    viagra arztausweis buy viagra online canada paypal uk viagra nhs

    November 26, 2020 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. KbrgMile

    can i buy genuine viagra online best viagra pills in usa generic viagra order

    November 26, 2020 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FnrdEncox

    viagra levitra cialis offers viagra uk viagra cialis meds

    November 26, 2020 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FmsgEncox

    the cost of viagra in australia dosierung viagra 50 mg what fruit is like viagra

    November 26, 2020 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. erectile dysfunction medications

    erectile function score
    erectile dysfunction clinic
    topical erectile dysfunction

    November 27, 2020 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. FdbvZisse

    viagra online in india viagra generic discount sildenafil fast shipping

    November 27, 2020 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Lynzey

    I agree with Cal Fraser, this song will make Top 20, but that's it. It's a bit of a grower isn't it? And it reminds me of Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol fame, and how he never really puts effort into the singing but that's what gives it it's brilliance., y'know? It's all very Pet Shop Boys in the production so should bare well with the older ears too.

    November 28, 2020 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. JgscCrulk

    can someone write my essay which essay writing service is the best writing a classification essay

    November 29, 2020 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to best public relations


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.