Hospital doctors in Ireland have discovered a surefire, low-cost way to distract children admitted for emergency care: inflate a rubber glove, pop out its fingers in a spiky hairdo and draw a smiley face on it.
Writing in Britain's Emergency Medicine Journal, physicians at Dublin's Tallaght Hospital say their puppet trick had proven so popular with young patients that they decided to put it to a scientific test.
One version of the glove was called the "Jedward" after the quiffs of Irish pop duo John and Edward Grimes. It entails five digits that form the hair, and a face drawn on the palm.
The other was the "Mohawk" in which the four fingers represent the hair, and the thumb the nose. Eyes are drawn either side of the nose, and a mouth beneath it.
Trialled on 149 paediatric patients aged between two and eight, the "Jedward" was picked on 75 occasions and the "Mohawk" 61 times. Only 13 children refused a puppet.
"A standard hospital glove, inflated as a balloon with a face drawn on it, is a useful distraction for children with an acute injury," the doctors say.
"The face should be drawn 'Jedward' style."