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Distraction in Action: Helping Kids in Pain

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
96 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 16, at 11:59 PM CST
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Distraction in Action: Helping Kids in Pain

The Facts

Did you know that children in the U.S. have up to 20 immunizations before the age of 18? What’s upsetting is that studies have found that more than 60 percent of children say they have a fear of needles, and more than 90 percent show distress during these routine immunizations. It is no surprise that children whose pain is inadequately controlled during medical procedures suffer immediate consequences and long-term negative effects.  

But did you know you can help your child reduce distress by becoming a distraction coach? As a distraction coach, you refocus your child’s attention away from the procedure and toward something fun – a toy, a book, a video game, or even a silly conversation.

About Us

The Distraction in Action team consists of interdisciplinary professionals and researchers who have been studying procedural pain interventions in children for more than 20 years. Our educational and professional backgrounds are in the fields of nursing, psychology, child life, and information technology. Our team published more than 20 peer reviewed research journal articles related to the Distraction in Action app development.

The App

We used research data from over 1,000 parents and children to build the program behind the app. The app uses a short survey to gauge the child’s risk for distress and what might minimize the distress:

  1. The parent and child answer questions on the app. The answers are used to determine the child’s risk for distress.

  2. A meter shows the child’s predicted risk for distress. The meter is used by parents and health care professionals to decide the best way to help the child.

  3. A short training video shows how to be a good distraction coach.

  4. The app gives tips that help with the child’s specific needs.

  5. The app suggests age appropriate apps to help distract the child during the medical procedure.

Our Vision

We want to help parents and health care providers minimize the distress that occurs when a child has a painful medical procedure by using individualized distraction techniques. With your support, this web-based app will be available, free of charge, on the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital webpage, and we want to make it available on other pediatric health care websites as well. We need your help to maintain the app over time and get it out to the people who need it.

Give Now

Join our cause! Donate now to help our app become available for families everywhere!

To learn more about the app, contact


NOTICE: The University of Iowa Center for Advancement is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization soliciting tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of the University of Iowa. Please visit the UI Center for Advancement disclosures site for additional information.

Choose a giving level



A gift at this level is appreciated. Thank you!



Your gift brings us closer to launching our app. Thank you for your help!



Your gift covers the cost of a one-hour training session for health care providers on how to implement distraction tactics. Thank you for your contribution!



Your generous gift helps 100 families have access to the Distraction in Action app. Thank you for your investment!



Your meaningful gift covers the cost of one iPad for health centers that do not have a technology budget. Thank you!



Your generosity is deeply appreciated! Your gift at this level provides a month's worth of tech support for our app and website.

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