Children’s Comfort Promise

What if getting shots didn’t hurt? Taking the scary out of needles isn’t impossible. That’s why we’ve made a promise to our patients. We call it Children’s Comfort Promise. It means we will do everything possible to prevent and treat pain.

Patients and families named needles as the worst pain they experience at Children’s. So we are partnering with parents and caregivers to choose from four Comfort Promise steps that can help prevent and treat needle pain for their child. This is just one of the ways we go above and beyond for the most amazing people on earth.

What we can do to make needles less painful

No one likes to have needle procedures, especially kids. But there are things we can do to make needles less painful. Evidence supports that if we always use the following 4 steps children will have less pain with needle procedures (like immunizations, lab draws or IV starts).

1. Numb the skin
2. Sugar water or breastfeeding (for babies 12 months or less)
3. Comfort positioning
4. Distraction

You’ll see these needle procedure improvements implemented and standardized across all Children’s locations. It is a phased approach, so not all departments and clinics have implemented this approach. We encourage you to let your clinical staff know if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s needle procedures.

What you can do to help

As parents and caregivers, there are ways that you can provide comfort before, during and after needle procedures:

Before the procedure

  • Prepare your child about what to expect
  • Keep it simple yet honest, the timing will depend on your child
  • Talk to your provider or clinic about numbing cream

For babies under 12 months, sugar water or breastfeeding should start 2 minutes before the procedure.

During the procedure

Infants (0-12 months)

  • Swaddling
  • Skin to skin contact
  • Pacifier
  • Holding your child during the procedure
  • Age appropriate distraction (Example: Favorite toy, singing, music or comfort object)


Toddlers (1-5 years)

  • Sitting child upright
  • Holding your child during the procedure
  • Age appropriate distraction (Example: Toys, books, bubbles, pinwheels or games)


School age (6-12 years)

  • Sitting your child upright
  • Holding your child or staying close by during the procedure
  • Some children this age like to watch what is happening
  • Age appropriate distraction (Example: Electronics, toys, activities that encourage deep breathing, or actively engage)

Teens (13-18 years)

  • Sitting upright (if teen wants to)
  • Be available for support
  • Some teens like to watch what is happening
  • Age appropriate distraction (Example: music, games, electronics or watching)

Additional resources

For Families

For health care providers