Give a Baby Sugar, Make a Shot Hurt Less

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Weird But True, Research Reveals: Babies

Does sugar take the sting out of shots? Credit: Getty Images

Turns out, a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down -- or at least it makes an injection hurt a lot less.

A new study shows that babies who are given something sweet before their immunizations felt less pain. Given that, doctors should consider feeding kids under a year a solution of sucrose or glucose, the study's authors write in the upcoming issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers in Canada, Australia and Brazil looked at information about more than 1,600 injections given to children less than a year old. The data was collected from 14 different studies.

They found that babies who were given a small amount of a sweet solution cried less than those who were given water or no treatment in more than 90 percent of cases. But what that solution consisted of was relevant, too. They looked at solutions of glucose -- the sugar made by the body -- and sucrose -- table sugar, and found that the babies who were given a solution that was 30 percent glucose were half as likely to cry as the other children.

Because the sweet liquid was different in each of the studies they drew data from, the researchers couldn't determine the ideal dose.

Related: Immunizing Children May Help the Whole Community, Study Shows

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.