To evaluate the effectiveness of oral sucrose in the prevention of pain-induced crying in preterm infants, a sample of 28 healthy neonates (15M, 13F; gestational age at procedure less than 37 weeks) who were having routine blood drawn by arm venipuncture was studied. Infants were randomly allocated to receive by mouth, using a syringe, 2 ml of one of three solutions: spring water (group W) and sucrose 12 and 24% w/v (groups S12 and S24, respectively), all in water vehicle. After 2 min, while awake, arm venipuncture was performed and duration of crying was measured. The time spent crying was reduced in the group treated with the sweetest solution (S24, n = 8, mean = 19.1 s). No difference was observed between the S12 group (n = 8, mean = 63.1 s) and W group (n = 12, mean = 72.9 s). Physiological measurements were recorded at different time points to evaluate excessive basal and procedural distress.