Taking Fear and Pain Out of Shots for Kids

As Child Life Specialists, we support many children who have a fear of needles. This can make injections, port accesses, IV placements, and blood draws very difficult, anxiety-producing, and potentially traumatic for paediatric patients and their families. A new study has revealed that 52% of respondents from a national survey report a moderate to high fear of needles. That is why during my child life internship, I was amazed to learn about and utilize a pain relief option for various types of medical procedures called Buzzy, a device developed by Pain Care Labs.

Speaking from first-hand experience working in the paediatric perioperative unit at Duke Children’s Hospital, nurses were advocates of promoting the use of Buzzy for IV placements. Though freeze spray was a useful pain management option, it often constricted patients’ already small veins, while Buzzy did not contribute to any challenges of successfully placing an IV. This made Buzzy a reliable pain relief option to present to all patients. Younger children are often amused and enjoy playing with "Buzzy bee" before and after the injection, and older children and teens are usually intrigued by the way Buzzy works.

Buzzy is a small, palm-sized “bee” device that uses the right frequency vibration and cold from its frozen wings to control nearby pain. For optimal pain control, the frozen wings will be attached to the Buzzy device, which will then be turned on and placed on the site of the injection for 30-60 seconds. When time for the injection or IV placement, Buzzy will then be moved above the injection site. This allows the Buzzy device to be placed between the pain and the brain.

Buzzy uses the natural “gate control” pain relief by confusing the body’s nerves, which dulls or eliminates sharp pain. When the nerves receive the non-painful signals of cold and/or vibration, the brain closes the gate on pain signals. Buzzy is also designed to help when the device is placed distant from the site of procedural pain, which is called Descending Noxious Inhibitory Control (DNIC). This allows the brain to dampen out unwanted signals. When the brain notices the cold sensation from Buzzy’s frozen wings, it activates a supraspinal modulation that raises the body’s overall pain threshold.

Buzzy is available for personal use as well as for use in the healthcare setting. Buzzy is trusted and used in over five thousand hospitals and clinics worldwide. It is used in place of topical anaesthetics and is ten times faster and four times more economical. Buzzy is the most economical pain management device that is clinically proven to improve satisfaction and provide the fastest pain relief for children and adults alike. As child life specialists, we love having the Buzzy device as a part of our go-to procedural preparation, support, and pain management toolboxes!



Credit: Hearts Connected | Heather Eudy,BS Jul 29, 2021