In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Siena, researchers found that cartoons are twice as effective as mothers in alleviating pain felt by children during medical procedures, such as having a blood sample taken.
In the study, Carlo Belliene and his team from Le Scatte Clinic divided 69 children, aged between 7 and 12, into three groups at random.
One group of kids started watching TV cartoons at least two minutes before the blood sample was taken by puncturing a vein. The second group of children didn't watch TV, but instead had their mothers to distract them when blood sample was taken. The third group of kids didn't watch TV or interact with their moms during the procedure.
The children and their mothers rated the pain after the procedure. Children who were given no distractions at all felt the pain most and gave a rating of 23.04, while those distracted by mother gave a rating of 17.39. Children watching cartoons gave the lowest pain rating of 8.91.
Mothers also agreed that television cartoons were the most effective giving a pain rating of 12.17, while they gave a rating of 21.30 if they had no involvement and 23.04 if they were trying to distract the child.
The study concludes that watching television may be more helpful than maternal attempts at trying to distract a child during medical procedures; however, the authors have said that this does not mean that the mothers should not accompany the children during such procedures as the children would later recall that they were not left alone in a stressful occasion, which could be important to them.