Shots, Your Child, and Buzzy: A Non-Invasive Approach to Pain Control














My 6-year-old is terrified of getting immunizations and flu shots. After two broken arms in six months time, he has seen his share of emergency rooms, IVs, and needles. The scene is always the same: the distracting, the reassuring, the restraining, and the screaming. A trip to the doctor has become exhausting for everyone involved and there is nothing more heartbreaking than terror in the eyes of your child.

But luckily for us, Dr. Amy Baxter, pediatrician, pain researcher and mother of three, created a new tool to help calm children in the form of a smiling bee named Buzzy. Her plan was to provide an inexpensive product for personal pain control that quickly relieves the sharp poke of a needle.

BuzzyA non-invasive comfort measure, Buzzy is placed with Velcro for 30 seconds above the needle stick site. Battery operated with frozen ice pack wings, Buzzy vibrates and distracts the nerves and reduces the sensation of pain using the “gate theory.”

“Gate theory” is the term used to describe pain relief by causing sensations other than pain, and then sending them down the same pathway. Using the body’s own nervous system, the gate control theory invokes the concept that the final common pathway for sharp pain to the brain can be shut out by the nerves that transmit cold and vibration senses. Just as running a burn under cold water stops the sharp pain, stimulating cold receptors can dull needle pain.

After Buzzy is applied and the shot is being administered, tools like “Bee-Stractors” and kazoos are used to divert your child’s attention from the needle.

What are “Bee-Stractors” and why the kazoos?

The redirection approach in which a child’s attention is directed at a different thought or activity works in some situations, but when a child knows he/she will be experiencing “discomfort,” it becomes a challenge to distract them from the impending sensation of pain. “Bee-stractors” are finding and counting tasks displayed on colorful cards. The use of a kazoo helps your child breathe, which also aids in pain relief.

Individuals with conditions like Cystic Fibrosis who can require several blood draws a year, children with diabetes, women home administering fertility shots, adults with a lingering fear of needles due to one bad shot experience as a child, allergy shots… The list of people needing medical treatment involving a shot goes on and on!

Latex-free, Buzzy comes with instructions, a set of reusable Blue Gel Wings, a Velcro strap, and batteries.

Yes, this is a new approach to pain control, but in the interest of making a painful situation less stressful, it’s worth a shot, right?

For more information about Buzzy and the research behind this pain blocking tool, visit

Need suggestions for medical office visits and additional tips to help reduce the pain of getting a shot? Dr. Baxter suggests 7 Secrets for Shots.


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