Marianne J E van der Heijden et.al. conducted a study to to determine if listening to music and watching cartoons are effective to distract children from pain and distress during procedures in the emergency room. The researchers concluded that , music was a beneficial distraction during procedures but cartoons had no effect.
This study aims to determine if listening to music and watching cartoons are effective to distract children from pain and distress during procedures in the emergency room (ER).
This study is a single-center, 3-armed, superiority randomized controlled trial comparing listening to music, watching cartoons, and standard care during ER procedures in children aged 3–13 years. The primary outcome was pain measured from video footage with the Alder Hey Triage Pain Score (AHTPS). Children older than 4 years self-reported pain with the Faces Pain Scale-Revised (FPS-R). The secondary outcome was distress measured with the Observational Scale of Behavioral Distress-revised (OSBD-r). Another indicator of distress was heart rate.
Data of 191 participants were analyzed for the 3 groups: music (n = 75), cartoon (n = 62), and control (n = 54). The median age was 7.3 years (4.9–9.7). In multivariable analysis, pain assessed with the AHTPS was significantly lower (B = −1.173, 95% confidence interval −1.953, −0.394, p = .003) in the music group than in the control groups. Across the 3 groups, 108 children self-reported pain with the FPS-R after the procedure. The scores were lowest in the music group, but the differences between groups were not significant (p = .077). OSBD-r distress scores assigned during the procedures were not significantly different between the 3 groups (p = .55). Heart rate directly after the procedure was not statistically significantly different between the 3 groups (p = .83).
Listening to recorded music is a beneficial distraction for children experiencing pain during ER procedures, whereas watching cartoons did not seem to reduce pain or distress.