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.