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Pain in young children attending an accident and emergency department
  1. Clare McCarthy1,
  2. Susie Hewitt2,
  3. Imti Choonara1
  1. 1Academic Division of Child Health, University of Nottingham, Derbyshire Children's Hospital, Uttoxeter Road, Derby DE22 3NE
  2. 2Accident and Emergency Department, Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, Derby
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Choonara, Professor in Child Health (Imti.choonara{at}


Objectives—To assess pain in young children presenting to an accident and emergency (A&E) department. To evaluate the use of the toddler-preschooler postoperative pain scale (TPPPS) and the use of analgesia in these children.

Methods—100 children aged 1–5 years presenting to an A&E department were assessed for pain. Pain assessments were carried out using a modified form of the TPPPS; a visual analogue scale by parents and a numerical scale by nursing staff.

Results—The majority of children were assessed as having pain: 60 by the TPPPS, 58 by the nurses and 63 by parents. Only 30 children, however, received analgesia. Children with the highest pain scores as assessed by nursing staff or using the TPPPS all received analgesia.

Conclusions—The pain scale appears suitable for use in young children in A&E departments. The subsequent management of pain in young children could be improved.

  • children
  • pain
  • pain assessment

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: IC is in receipt of research grants from Astra and Chiroscience in relation to the managment of pain.