Take the Sting Out of Shots with Buzzy

12/29/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Buzzy

While no parent enjoys it, needles are a fact of life for almost all children at some point — whether it’s to draw blood, an immunization or even for an IV. If you’re looking to lessen the pain — both emotional and physical — for everyone involved, consider Buzzy.

The battery-powered pain relief system is designed to take the sting out of shots, but it also works on everyday scrapes, bumps and bruises. By combining a vibrating bee with a removable, reusable gel cold pack that slides in to form wings, Buzzy distracts the nervous system from acute pain, so that your tot’s attention (and nerve endings) are focused elsewhere.

To get the desired effect, however, you’ll need to get your timing down. In the event of an immunization, begin numbing the area with the cold pack — which must be frozen — for at least 30 seconds prior to the shot. Then, as the shot is being administered, move Buzzy to a bony structure near the injection site, and switch it on. There are different procedures for different uses, including IVs, splinter removal, finger sticks and more, each of which are explained in detail on Buzzy4shots.com.

Buzzy is particularly beneficial for children with severe needle phobia, or those who have illnesses that require frequent needle exposure. Want to try it out? You can purchase the Buzzy bee unit ($35), or a deluxe kit ($55) complete with bee-stractor cards, an insulated tote bag to keep the cold pack frozen and white ice wings for longer procedures.

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Showing 38 comments

Pam on

what a waste of money. Shots dont even hurt that long and even still you can get the same results from an ice cube.

Carrie on

Although I am not keen on my child feeling pain, this is yet another example of cotton-wool parenting.

vanessa on

I agree…how much does ice cost again? (rolling my eyes)$35 seems a little steep for an ice pack…draw a happy face on a napkin…

ncmum on

While I agree, this is not really necessary for the regular Dr visit shots. My neice suffers from jeuvenile arthritis and has to have shots every day. This device has been a huge help to her and her family. In my opinion this is a device for that type of thing…diabetics etc.

Anonymous on

Except, of course, if your child has to have lab draws every 3 months or more frequently because of illness. I have always been one of those parents who has taught her kids that it is a part of life and is really not a big deal, doesn’t hurt, etc…to have needles or blood work; it is for the greater good. But when you have a kid who needs to have routine and sometimes lengthy blood draws, it might be nice to be able to distract her a bit. Needles and blood work once or twice a year – a kid can deal with – needles and blood work 6 to 8 times or more a year, why not?

Dawn on

One need only to read the testimonials to realize that this is NOT “cotton-wool parenting”, particularly for chronically ill children. And ice does NOT work in all cases due to blood vessel constriction. I was amazed to see that there are even needle-phobic adults who have had positive results with this, which just goes to show that a bad experience in childhood can have life-long ramifications with potentially life-threatening results. I think it’s a product with great potential and am forwarding a link to our local hospital’s pediatric unit.

jordan on

I’m one of those needle-phobic adults. I may look into getting one of these or something similar.

Tee on

This is an interesting product and I’m glad to have gotten to read about it. I think it would be great for a child that had to have needle sticks frequently due to a chronic problem. However, I think it’s a little over the top for your basic injection or blood draw.

Mary on

Well, I’m an adult who is needle phobic and I get a prescription from my doctor for EMLA cream (a lidocaine cream) to use whenever I get injections. If I didn’t have it, I’d never be able to get a tetanus or flu shot. There’s an OTC form of EMLA (kept behind the pharmacy counter) called ELA-Max.

marina on

I think that it usefull for critical ill children or something along the lines, not for one shot a year kinda thing.

Shannon on

This seems like a great aid for children who have to get needle sticks often. For the routine visit I don’t think it’s necessary. But very cute idea!

J on


Anonymous on

pam- this is not a waste of money, some people, young and old, suffer from severe needle phobia and something like this could definitely make a challenging experience less stressful.

Holiday on

I am thinking about getting one for my 2 kids! I hate to see them in pain and I felt so bad for my daughter at a recent 6 month check up when she had 4 shots at one time.

Max on

I am a 10 year old who has used Buzzy on many occasions. I think that Buzzy helps take away lots of pain, and my mom likes it a lot. I think that some of the comments posted earlier in this page are balderdash and that is all I have to say.

B.R on

So getting that for my 16 year old who is needle and doctor phobic, we have tried EMLA but had no luck, Mary I am really glad that it worked for, it must make it so much easier for you to see a doctor now. Everything that I read about it seems good and many have had luck with it, so I am hoping it will work. If anyone here gets it or has it would you mind tell me what you truly think of the product? Please.

Bree on

Awesome idea, my two year old cousin has a blockage in his bladder and they are trying to fix it without surgery which means he has to have a lot of blood work done and on a regular basis, this would not only relax him but distract him by giving him something cool to look at (He LOVES anything insect and bees top the list)
This is something I would definitely invest in for kids and adults. My stepmom has bad arthritis and has surgery at least once a year and often they have a hard time getting needles in because she gets to tense and the longer the take the more tense she gets and the harder it is, this would end that circle.
If I ever need to get needles on a regular basis I would consider one, I HATE needles and have to have my husband there and distracting me whenever I get them and this would help with that alot!!

kansasmom on

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommended vaccine schedule has a child receiving 33 immunizations by the end of their third year. That’s 11 shots per year, several per visit, or fewer at one time, if a delayed schedule is followed.

As an adult who has struggled to overcome the needle phobia created as a child by routine immunizations, I sincerely wish Buzzy or something like it had been available when I was a child. It’s not cotton-wool parenting. It’s something that can prevent a lifetime of avoiding medical care due to fear of needles.

Hea on

kansasmom – 33 shots? What are they for??

I think this is pretty silly. Unless you’re sick and need a ton of shots, it’s a very brief pain if pain at all. I believe more in the power of talking about what’s going to happen, to make things as undramatic as possible and to suck it up. A blood test taken in the finger is over before you know it.

Jonathan on

First shots can be very scary and can lead to a lifetime of fearing visiting the doctor.

I know a doctor who keeps one in his office for patients both kids and adults that are afraid of shots. She swears by it stating that kids sometimes cry before the shot because they have a preconditioned response but light up afterwards as they realize they felt nothing.

This is worth the investment for all kids first getting shots – especially those that need them frequently.

Jennifer on

My 10-year old daughter has an overactive vagal response to pain, which means she often faints after hitting her head or getting a shot. This has caused her to have an extreme needle phobia and fear of visiting the doctor. With Buzzy and the distractor kit, she had no pain when she got a swine flu shot last year, in contrast with a fainting spell after she got the regular flu vaccine two weeks before without Buzzy. I’m a fan!

CvB on

Why does needle pain in children matter? Why bother with Buzzy?

1. Needle punctures are the most often feared part of medical care.

2. Some kids develop a lifelong fear of health care as a result of early experiences with uncontrolled needle pain.

3. Parents who fear needles may be less likely to get their own children immunized.

4. Based on lots of research, pediatricians agree that pain caused by needles should be prevented or reduced. See the explanation and research articles listed on the Buzzy site at http://bit.ly/gV816h

5. Children who are anxious about needles or a visit to the doctor, and those who have to get a lot of needles due to chronic conditions, particularly need pain control.

6. There are several effective ways to prevent or reduce needle pain, and Buzzy nicely combines some of these (cold, vibration, distraction). Other methods include topical anesthetic creams and breastfeeding for infants before and during needle pokes.

Amanda on

I probably would have thought it was a waste if I didn’t have my second daughter. She has an extreme fear of needles, you’d have to see it to understand but I’ve never seen a chlid react the way she does to shots and I have 2 other children and been around kids my whole life. I thought she’d outgrow it but she’s 5 and it’s still going strong. I don’t know I’d pay that for the buzzy since we’ve tried all sorts of different methods of distraction, creams, icing, ect and nothing so far has helped much.


If you follow the AAP schedule, many of the immunizations are given in combination, up to 5 in each vaccine. So a child would NOT be getting 11 different shots a year IF you follow the schedule.

If you choose to divide up the vaccines, that may be a different story.

Jennifer on

I just used it for laser hair removal at the dermatologist’s office – legs, bikini, underarms – it really helped, especially at the painful ankle/lower leg area!

Max on

Agreed, I don’t mind shots but I always use Buzzy for bikini waxes! Funny, $35 seemed like a lot for a lifetime of shots but not as much for waxing pain. There goes my chance at mother of the year.

Steve the Pediatric Pain Doc on

There are many different ways to help kids (and adults) deal with the pain of needle pokes. These include behavioral techniques, physical methods (using very fine needles, avoiding very cold injection solutions, choosing the least sensitive locations on the body, etc), freezing pain sprays (PainEase), topical anesthetic creams (LMX4, EMLA, etc), coordinating the needed medical care(example: Avoid starting an IV and then shortly thereafter sticking patient again for bloodwork). It is wrong for people to minimize the impact of needle pain, especially in children. Repeated painful experiences can have lasting behavioral, and even physical, long-term consequences. There is little reason, with all the tools we now have, to assume that the attitude of being tough or just sucking it up, is the compassionate or medically justifiable way to address needle pain. Many medical advances have reduced either the pain of diseases or the pain of receiving treatment for diseases. We need to be thoughtful, kind and caring for our patients and children. Buzzy is another great tool in reducing pain in our most vulnerable patients, children. If it also can help adults, we should embrace that as well. Kindness and caring pays off!! Happy New year to all.

Kathy on

My 5 year old daughter is in a diabetes-related study, and gets her blood drawn every quarter. They use Buzzy there and I was intrigued, so I got one for home. So far, in addition to the run-of-the-mill vaccines (which she doesn’t really have a problem with, but she likes the distraction cards a lot), we’ve successfully used it for some pretty mean splinter extractions from various locations all over her body, ranging from the meaty part of her palm to her toes.

I absolutely agree that kids – well, adults, too – need to know that they will survive some pain and learn to trust their bodies to get them through it. I say that from the perspective of someone who is not afraid of needles and so far my kids don’t seem to be either. But I know people who haven’t been to the doctor or dentist in YEARS (like 10+) because they’re afraid of needles, so I definitely see how this can really help some people.

Carla on

I grew up in a place that did not have disposable needles and syringes like are used nowadays in the US. Needles were put into a sterilizer to be used again and again and they eventually developed burs on them. They were not sharp and hurt quite a bit. As an adult, I am afraid of needles, even though I know that modern ones do not hurt; it is the anticipation that scares me. I welcome all techniques like Steve mentioned.

Anonymous on

Wow……I am a Phlebotomist and see where the Buzzy could be useful, I don’t agree with the cold? Warmth makes the blood flow faster. Vacines sure cold would help but not with drawing blood. I have seen adults react worse than chidren to blood drawing. So to invest in this ??? But if you and your co-worker are quick ad efficient blood drawing is over in a matter of minutes no matter the age or the fear. Reassurance and Comfort and Parents not freaking is the best way to go…

Nina on

My children love using Buzzy. Buzzy is not just an ice-pack, combined with the vibrations, it takes the pain away. The Bee-Straction cards are a fabulous way to keep your child occupied while waiting for the doctor. If your child is able to “suck it up”, great, but there are many who can’t. I fully recommend Buzzy.

Nina on

My children love Buzzy. It is not only an ice-pack. When the cold and the vibration work together, it takes away the pain. If your child is able to “suck it up”, great, but if they can’t Buzzy will work great. I fully recommend Buzzy.

anon on

I have an 8 year old nephew with Diabetes who takes 4 shots daily along with ‘pricking his finger’ 4-6 times daily. I ordered this the minute I saw it on here. If it can even take a fraction of the pain away it is worth much more than the $35

Rach on

Ok, I can see how it would work.. but maybe not for someone like me who has a three person experience trying to calm and hold a toddler for shots and to be checked. Forget the Buzzy.. my son is all about my Blackberry.. it has saved me in some pinches..but make sure you get a protection plan lol.

SHM on

I disagree with those who say it’s a waste of money. Yet I wonder if it’s applicable for all types of injections. For example, would the use of Buzzy skewer results/rxns of allergy shot injections/allergy tests?

Cyndi on

I would pay endless amounts of money if my baby/child had to endure less pain. Works great on my 6 month old little boy. Wish I had it sooner.

Max on

Hi, SHM – as it turns out, we used Buzzy for my son’s allergy testing last week. The doctor (and my son) agreed to do an extra histamine poke so we could compare. No difference in size (I know, N of 1!) but the big thing was it completely stopped the itching of the tests. We tried it a few times: it took 7 seconds for Buzzy to stop the itching with the ice pack, 13 seconds without.

Lyla on

Ive just purchased this and im a bit skeptical I really hope this will help reduce the pain/sting from the needle insertion. I am an adult who has been needle-phobic for quite a few years. can anybody respond on how it worked while getting their blood drawn id appreciate it!!