A visit to the emergency department can be a frightening experience for a child. Already ill or injured, they are suddenly in an unfamiliar place facing unknown equipment and procedures—including the dreaded needle prick.
Now, new methods of pain control and hydration are helping emergency department physicians make treatment easier than ever for their youngest patients, according to Seth Kaufman, M.D. “We want to reduce the pain and anxiety children feel in the ER as much as we can,” says
Dr. Kaufman, who is also pediatric director of the NorthBay Medical Center Emergency Department.
Some forms of pain medication no longer require an injection. For example, intranasal Fentanyl is applied to
the inside of the child’s nostrils where it is absorbed by the skin. Topical anesthesia cream can be used to numb a child’s skin when an injection is needed. It is also used before an IV line is placed.
There is also an easier way to administer fluids to a child who is dehydrated. Instead of an IV line, which is a needle placed in the child’s vein, subcutaneous hydration has proven to be just as effective. In this procedure, a topical anesthesia is applied to numb the skin and then a needle is placed just under the skin.
The Fairfield Emergency Department also has a pediatric-friendly examining room, complete with colorful walls and comfortable surroundings.