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Parental satisfaction with routine EMLA cream application before childhood vaccination

Mohamad-Hani Temsah, Manal Abouelkheir, Deema Alsourani, Fahad A Bashiri, Ayman Al-Eyadhy, Gamal M Hasan, Fahad Al-Sohime, Jara Mia Macarambon, Amal Fatani, Yasser S Amer, Fahad Al-Zamil


Rationale, aims and objectives: To evaluate parents’ satisfaction about applying EMLA® cream as a routine pain relieving strategy for all children undergoing vaccination and to assess their willingness to wait for a possible longer clinic time that may result from applying local anesthetics before vaccination.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a pediatric vaccination clinic at a university teaching hospital for parents of healthy children presenting for routine vaccination. To apply EMLA® cream as a routine pain relief before vaccination, parents were requested to assess the pain of their child from vaccine injections, using the 10-point Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Additionally, parents were also asked to complete a short questionnaire to assess their satisfaction about the routine application of EMLA® cream.

Results: Parents of 269 children participated in the study. These children received 565 vaccination injections (median of 2 injections/child). The mean age ± SD for the participating children was 20 ± 14.7months. The parents rated their child’s pain during vaccines using the VAS scale and the median (IQR) for pain score was 4 (1,8). Correlation analysis indicated significant and moderate relationship between ratings of satisfaction with pain score (r = 0.45, p < 0.001). 68.4% of parents expressed their strong willingness to use EMLA® cream for their child’s future vaccinations even though it may lengthen clinic waiting time.

Conclusions: Routine application of local anesthetic creams before childhood vaccination increases the parents’ satisfaction and thus may improve the overall quality of healthcare service provided.


Anxiety, distress, EMLA®, pain, parental satisfaction, person-centered healthcare, vaccination

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