What are the special considerations of opioid use for postoperative pain control with children?
The emotional component of pain is particularly strong in infants and children. Absence of parents, security objects, and familiar surroundings may cause as much suffering as the surgical incision. Children’s fear of injections makes intramuscular or other invasive routes of drug delivery aversive. Even the valuable technique of topical analgesia before injections may not lessen this fear. In the absence of a clear source of pain or obvious pain behavior, caregivers may assume that pain is not present and defer treatment. Safe methods for providing analgesia are underused in pediatric patients for fear of opioid-induced respiratory depression.