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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Ignorance about children’s pains has literally hurt many children. All children, including new-borns, feel pain. Assertions about children’s nerves not being sufficiently developed to be able to feel pain belong in the past.

Often it can be difficult to locate the pain. The infant cannot tell their parents where it hurts and small children often mislead their parents by complaining about stomach pains no matter the ill and by always answering leading questions the same way: ‘does your ears hurt? Yes they do’. It is a little easier with school children.

Most children experience pain often and in an early age when growing up in connection with falling, blows, abrasions, wounds, burns, injections by vaccinations and dentistry. However, also many infections (influenza, inflammation of the middle ear, tonsillitis) cause pain. It is common that parents often do not treat these pains properly because they do not have sufficient knowledge about what can cause pain with their children.

Recurring pain with children poses a particular problem. Two typical examples are recurring cases of stomach-aches and headaches. Children suffering from this should be looked at by a doctor. If the child gains weight, eats and plays like other children when it has no pain the cause is most often nerves or very rarely foodstuff allergy. Also recurring headaches can be connected to nerves but migraine is also a possibility. Migraine appears as headache, desire to avoid the light and vomiting typically with children of 5 to 8 years old.

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What can you do?

A child who has been injured and is in pain should always be treated with painkillers. You should not use painkillers for children less than 2 years old without directions from a doctor. Children with stomach-aches should not be treated before consulting a doctor. Pain in connection with infection should be treated with painkillers and antipyretics like paracetamol. It is important to minister the painkilling medicine correctly. Be careful to read the instructions that go with the product.

Listen to and talk to the child. Tell the child why it hurts – try to tell the child as much as it asks.

It has been demonstrated that infants with pain benefits from gentle caresses and using a pacifier.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If the pains return. The doctor can prescribe another painkiller.

Contact the doctor immediately

If, in spite of your treatment, the child still is in pain. If the child is in pain and you do not know why or if the child has stomach pains.