Pain control in infants and children has come a long way over the past few decades. Experts know how to provide appropriate anesthesia when children need surgery and understand the ways that even very young children express distress when they're hurting afterward. There is a lot of evidence about reducing the pain and anxiety that can accompany immunizations and blood draws, and there is increasing expertise about helping children who struggle with chronic pain.
But today's parents may be shocked to learn that was not always the case. As recently as the early 1980s, the pain of children and infants was thought to be different from that of adults and was sometimes treated differently, or sometimes not treated at all.
Change doesn't always come easily in medicine, so there's a certain onus on parents to make sure that their children get state-of-the-art pain management around procedures, large and small. That means preparation before any planned surgery,ideally with a child life specialist, and it means careful attention to the child's pain afterward, with parents well backed up by medical specialists.