vaccination, pain, distraction, topical spray


Introduction: The pain and anxiety associated with vaccination is a significant reason why parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated. Distraction methods and vapocoolant sprays may be use to modify the parent's perceptions of their child's pain and anxiety, thus encouraging parents to return for the child's next vaccination.

Methods: A convenience sample of 68 parents with children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years was selected. The parents and the child were randomly assigned to three groups: a control group, a DVD distraction group, or a vapocoolant spray group. After the child was vaccinated, parents evaluated the child's pain and anxiety.

Results: No significant difference in the parents' perception of their child's pain or anxiety was found between the two treatment groups compared with the control group. Some parents expressed the desire to be able to choose the type of distraction method their child received rather than having them randomly assigned to a group.

Discussion: Although quantitative results were not statistically significant in this pilot study, parents commented that the DVD distraction method seemed helpful before and/or after vaccination, but not during vaccination, and parents appreciated the distraction. Parents, however, would prefer to choose the intervention rather than being randomly assigned to a group. The effectiveness of interventions with regard to parental perceptions of pain or anxiety warrants further study.

Original Publication Citation

Luthy, K. E., Beckstrand, R. L., & Pulsipher, A.* (2013). Evaluation of methods to relieve parental perceptions of vaccine-associated pain and anxiety in children: A pilot study. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 27(5), 351-358.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Pediatric Health Care





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor