''IF YOU ask every single child in the world, 'What are you most afraid of, going to the pediatrician?', the answer is needle pokes,'' said Dr. Stefan Friedrichsdorf, the medical director of pain medicine and palliative care at Children's Minnesota.

The pain and fear surrounding childhood vaccinations, he said, contribute to the development of needle phobias, which can make people reluctant to get the shots and other potentially life-saving vaccines.

Thus, pediatric pain specialists hope that reducing or eliminating the pain associated with needles can reduce what we now call ''vaccine hesitancy'', encouraging parents to get those annual flu shots for-

For themselves and their children, and generally taking away some of the fear that can get in the way of  ideal health care.

''We have noticed that since we have started doing this it's a life changing event. Kids are less and  less likely to be needle phobic,'' Dr. Friedrichsdorf said.

''We are trying to prove it's lifesaving.''

Through an initiative called the  Comfort Promise at Children's Minnesota, the entire hospital has committed to reducing or eliminating needle pains, along with other types of pain.

So how do you eliminate, or at least substantially reduce, the pain of vaccination or blood draws?

Parents should  make sure that  their children's pediatrician or hospital always offers the four elements of the Comfort Promise, Dr. Friedrichsdorf said.

,- Numb the skin.

.- Let Infants Breast-Feed

,- Don't Pin A Child Down.

,- Provide Distraction.

The World Students Society thanks author and researcher, Perri Klass M.D.


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