The popular “5S” intervention — which includes swaddling, side/stomach positioning, shushing, swinging and sucking of infants — may be a good way to ease pain after immunizations, according to results of a recently published study.
John W. Harrington, MD, and colleagues from the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., studied 230 infants who were randomly assigned into four groups: 1) standard parent care with 2 mL of water (control group); 2) standard parent care with 2 mL of 24% oral sucrose solution (sucrose group); 3) 2 mL of water, the physical intervention known as the 5S’s (physical group); 5) and the 5S’s with 2 mL of sucrose solution (physical and sucrose group).
The researchers used the modified Riley pain score at 15-second intervals for 2 minutes, and then every 30 seconds for up to 5 minutes to assess pain after immunization.
Although pain decreased over time in all of the groups, Harrington and colleagues reported “significantly different mean pain scores” and found that the most effective pain reduction method was the 5S’s, with or without sucrose solution. The administration of the oral sucrose solution did not seem to have a significant effect on pain reduction. The researchers also reported that analgesic interventions were more effective overall in the 2-month age group.
“This study demonstrates that the physical intervention of the 5S’s resulted in decreased pain scores and decreased crying time among 2- and 4-month-old infants during their routine vaccinations. The 5S’s appear to be a viable no pharmacologic option for clinics to implement when providing analgesia during vaccinations,” Harrington and colleagues concluded. “This simple physical intervention will require additional studies to see whether it is reproducible for other painful procedures and whether parents can be taught to perform the 5S’s reliably.”
Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.