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Buzzy Bee® - guideline for usage

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Buzzy Bee® 

The Buzzy Bee® is a handheld vibrating device with removable ice wings that can be used as a method of pain relief and distraction for children undergoing painful procedures. It combines the use of cold and vibration to help block pain and sharp sensations on the arm. It also provides distraction to children during needle related medical procedures. It has been shown to decrease needle pain by 50-80% and when added to distraction it can reduce pain by 88%.

How does Buzzy® work?

The gate control theory is the basis for Buzzy® ."Gate control" is the term used to describe pain relief by causing sensations other than pain, and then sending them down the same pathway where pain gets blocked at the "gate".

Tips for use with children

  • Immediately before use, get a set of wings from the freezer. Wings must be frozen solid to work effectively.
  • Slide the wings through the elastic band and place on the skin. Place the Buzzy® on top of the ice pack. For certain patients (under 6 months old, patients with cold sensitivity, Raynaud's or sickle disease) it is best to avoid the ice pack.
  • Show Buzzy® to the child. Let them hold Buzzy® and turn it on and off. They do not have to use the icepack if it is distressing them.
  • Place Buzzy® between the pain and the brain, proximal to the puncture site.
  • Keep the larger round end 3-5 cm proximal to the site, and Buzzy®'s head and switch farthest away from the site. For an IV or phlebotomy, hold Buzzy® 3-5 cm proximal to the pain location. Press in place and tuck under tourniquet before cleaning and inserting IV. Leave buzzing throughout the access.
  • Distraction therapy is advised when using Buzzy® so please remember to include this and the play specialist where able. Buzzy Bee®  should be used with topical anaesthetics where this is possible.


Infection control

In patients who are immunocompromised, or infectious, place Buzzy® and wings into a plastic bag such as a specimen bag before pressing on the child. Always wipe Buzzy® down with disinfectant wipes after using it.

Where does Buzzy Bee® live?

Buzzy Bee® can be found on either of the IV procedure trolleys. The wings will live in the freezer in the tea room, please keep them in a specimen bag and return them to when you have finished using them.

Additional Resources

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Document Control

  • Date last published: 08 February 2018
  • Document type: Clinical Guideline
  • Services responsible: Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Author(s): Dave Buckley, Karen McCarthy
  • Owner: Karen McCarthy
  • Editor: Brent McSharry
  • Review frequency: 2 years