Best infant painkiller drug-free

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The Independent Online
OVER A century after Charles Darwin wrote his account of an infant in pain, doctors have devised a study to confirm what parents have known for ages: the best painkiller for a baby is a sugary drink and a dummy.

French researchers tested different methods of dealing with pain in newborn babies,using Darwin's description from 1872, which said infants in pain "utter violent and prolonged screams ... their eyes are firmly closed, so that the skin round them is wrinkled".

The responses of 150 babies who had routine medical procedures in their first few days were studied by researchers at Poissy hospital, near Paris. Pain was rated on the extent of grimacing, crying and limb movement, as Darwin propounded.

Reported in the British Medical Journal, the results show that a dummy is better at calming babies than a sweet drink, but that a combination of the two is most effective.