Health

Research Shows IPads Are As Effective As Drugs At Calming Kids Before Surgery

This might change some parents' views about screen time.

Having a procedure done in the hospital is scary enough for adults, but imagine how much more frightening the process is for a small child. It’s important to keep children calm and relaxed before an operation, and it looks like iPads may be a drug-free way to do just that. Research presented at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists found that for children ages four to 10, iPads are just as effective as traditional sedatives at lowering anxiety levels in kids who are about to undergo an operation.

French researchers tested 54 children and compared the drug midazolam to playing age-appropriate games on an iPad for 20 minutes. They found both the drug and the tablet helped to diminish anxiety, with the iPad possibly being more effective. Nurses who treated the children rated the iPads more effective in calming kids for the application of a numbing agent before anesthesia.

These findings, which have not yet been published in a paper, are useful for parents and doctors who want to limit the amount of drugs necessary for children who are undergoing medical procedures. The bottom line: It looks like all that cell phone and tablet technology can do some good for children after all.

[h/t: Quartz]