Procedural pain in a paediatric surgical emergency unit

Acta Paediatr. 1995 Dec;84(12):1403-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1995.tb13577.x.


Pain induced by various types of procedures was assessed in the Paediatric Surgical Emergency Department at St Göran's Children's Hospital in Stockholm. Assessments of pain were obtained from the nurse, the parent, and children over 10 years of age by means of a visual analogue scale. In children aged 3-9 years, the Smiley Five-Face Scale was used. The nurse and the parent also answered questionnaires about analgesic medication, the child's behaviour, and the parent's overall opinion of the pain management, etc. Irrigation of the glans penis because of balanitis, treatment of fractures and paronychia were considered to be the most painful procedures. Forty-four per cent of the children cried during the procedure and 16% fought against being restrained. In 24% of the cases, the child was judged to be in a state of "panic". In conclusion, we believe that the pain induced by procedures in the emergency rooms is unacceptably high. Children estimate higher pain scores than parents and nurses do. There was a poor correlation between the parent's and child's estimates of pain. Parents are not well informed about the possibilities for pain treatment. Infants and children attending emergency rooms must also benefit from recent advances in the treatment of pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conscious Sedation
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Sick Role


  • Analgesics