Robots can help reduce pain and distress kids experience while receiving a vaccination, according to a new study published in the journal Vaccine.

Due to the amount of technology now existing in society, children are as familiar with devices such as cell phones and computers as they are with human beings.

The experts said:

“Millions of children in North America receive an annual flu vaccination, many of whom are at risk of experiencing severe distress. Millions of children also use technologically advanced devices.”

Therefore, the experts believed that robots could be used as a distraction for kids while receiving a vaccination, and as a result, experience a reduced level of pain.

The team of investigators observed over 50 patients between the ages of 4 and 9 who were attending a hospital to receive flu vaccines.

Fully qualified nurses were in charge of administering the injections under up-to-date vaccination guidelines.

The participants were randomly assigned to a vaccination session to receive an injection from a nurse who used standard administration procedures or with a human-like robot that used cognitive-behavioral strategies while a nurse administered the injection.

The robot interacted with the youngsters by introducing itself and discussing interests like music and movies. It asked the kids to give them a “high five” and then then asked them to help clean and move a toy while the nurse got their arm ready to receive an injection.

After the child was vaccinated, the robot thanked him or her for helping and made positive remarks before waving to say goodbye.

Measures of pain and distress were completed by the kids, parents, nurses, and investigators.

Results demonstrated that interaction with the human-like robot during vaccination helped significantly reduce the kids’ pain and distress.

The experts discovered that 86% of the children would very much like the robot to be at medical procedures they needed to have done in the future.

The researchers concluded:

“This is the first study to examine the effectiveness of child-robot interaction for reducing children’s pain and distress during a medical procedure. All measures of reduction were significant.

These findings suggest that further research on robotics at the bedside is warranted to determine how they can effectively help children manage painful medical procedures.”

A previous study showed that ten percent of parents in the United States are not following the recommended vaccination schedule for children.

Written by Sarah Glynn