Source: New York Times
By: O'Connor, Anahad
Researchers led by Dr. John Harrington of the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Va., set out to determine whether the five S’s popularized by pediatrician Harvey Karp in the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” intended to soothe fussy or colicky babies, could help calm and comfort infants receiving vaccines at their two- and four-month well-child visits. The five S’s are swaddling, putting the baby in a side or stomach position in the guardian’s arms, swaying, sucking on a pacifier, and making a shushing sound in the baby’s ear—all of which are said to mimic the environment of the womb. Some of the 230 infants studied were given either 2mL of plain water or 2mL of sugar water prior to the injections and were comforted by a parent or guardian afterward. Infants in two other groups were given one of the liquids and comforted by a resident trained in the five S’s, so they were swaddled within 15 seconds of vaccination, held in a side or stomach position, swayed while being shushed, and offered a pacifier. A trained observer gauged the infants’ pain level using a standard pain assessment scale, and researchers found that the lowest pain scores were seen in the infants who received physical intervention, or the five S’s, no matter whether they received water or sugar prior to vaccination. According to Harrington, “Going in, we thought that maybe sugar and the physical intervention would work together. But what we found was that just the physical intervention was good enough. You really didn’t need to give sugar prior to the shots.” He says that offering the pacifier was not always necessary, but swaddling was found to be the most important step. The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.