A randomised controlled trial examining the effectiveness of cartoons as a distraction technique
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A randomised controlled trial examining the effectiveness of cartoons as a distraction technique

Diana Cerne Paediatric nurse and educator, Local Health Unit 2, Bassa Friulana-Isontina, Gorizia and Trieste University, Italy
Lucia Sannino Registered nurse, Department of nursing science, Udine University, Italy
Marco Petean Community nurse, Local Health Unit 4, Friuli Centrale, Udine, Italy

Diana Cerne and colleagues present a study looking at standard versus audiovisual approaches to alleviating children’s distress and pain during immunisation procedures

Aim Distress and pain associated with immunisation are significant problems for children, carers and healthcare professionals. This study was designed to determine whether distraction by watching cartoons during immunisation could reduce the distress and pain perceived by the children.

Methods A sample of 35 six year olds was randomly assigned to one of two groups: the first was distracted by standard techniques during immunisation, the second by watching cartoons. Levels of distress were measured with the amended observation scale of behavioural distress, and of pain by the Wong-Baker FACES pain rating scale.

Results The levels of distress were significantly lower in the group distracted by cartoons compared with children who received traditional distraction techniques during immunisation.

Conclusion By using an easy, cheap intervention, children’s first introduction to health services can be made a positive experience which will decrease the number developing pre-procedural anxiety or a fear of needles.

Nursing Children and Young People. 27, 3, 28-33. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.27.3.28.e534



Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 17 August 2014

Accepted: 07 November 2014

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