Getting stitches on the face is no fun for anyone, but it is especially frightening to young children.
A study published in the January 2001 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine evaluated different ways to reduce distress in children needing facial laceration repair. Some of the children received a topical anesthetic alone, some received an anesthetic plus nitrous oxide (laughing gas), some received an anesthetic plus midazolam (an anti-anxiety drug, similar to valium), and some received ‘all of the above’.
Laughing gas plus a local anesthetic gave the best results — the lowest distress during cleaning, stitching, and shots, as well as the fewest side effects and the quickest recovery.
This was a happy solution for painful or frightening procedures in kids as young as age 2.