Laughing Gas

Laughing Gas

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.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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