A new study has found virtual reality shows promise in helping to distract children from self-reported pain and anxiety during medical procedures.

Authors believe younger children in particular may benefit from the intervention.

The review of 17 trials looked at virtual reality interventions tested in trials with children receiving treatment for burns, dental and tumour related health needs, and during needle insertion for intravenous access.

Results suggested a marked impact on pain and anxiety of children from these immersive distractions, but research was of mixed quality and individual trials were small.

Fear of medical interventions is a commonly recognised problem in children and can be very acute in younger children.

The authors believe virtual reality as a distraction may offer a safe solution in counteracting this.


Virtual reality can help reduce the pain and anxiety of stressful medical procedures for children 10.3310/signal-000806