Effect of virtual reality headset for pediatric fear and pain distraction during immunization

Pain Manag. 2018 May;8(3):175-179. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2017-0040. Epub 2018 May 3.


Aim: Fear of needles is a well-known phobia among children and adults. This study presents the rationale, feasibility and results of a pilot study applying a virtual reality (VR) headset as a fear reduction and pain distraction during immunizations.

Patients & methods: 17 subjects and 17 parents rated their fear and pain level pre- and postimmunization using Wong-Baker pain scale and McMurtry children's fear scale. Immunization was provided, while subject was wearing a VR headset.

Results: Ratings of anticipated versus actual fear and pain due to immunizations improved following use of the VR headset in 94.1% of pediatric subjects.

Conclusion: The use of a VR headset was well received and reduced overall fear and pain in children receiving immunizations.

Keywords: distraction; fear; immunization; pain; pediatric; procedure; psychology; virtual reality.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Perception
  • Virtual Reality*