SALT LAKE CITY — Since children receive more than two dozen shots by the age of six, it's understandable that some would develop a fear of needles.
And with that phobia in mind, one mom — who's also an emergency room pediatrician — tried to find a way to minimize the pain with a new device called the Buzzy, which is touted as drug-free pain relief.
"And one night driving home from an emergency shift, my hands were vibrating because the steering wheel was unbalanced because the tires were unbalanced and my hands got numb," said Dr. Amy Baxter, creator of Buzzy, explaining how she came up with the idea. "And I was like, I don't need water, I don't need motion, I just need a vibrator!"
The Buzzy, which is in the shape of a friendly bee, has a frozen pack and a vibrating plastic device that helps desensitize the nerve and then dulls the pain of a shot.
"On the arm it takes a little longer, so maybe 30 seconds, then slide it up and do the shot underneath it," Baxter said.
Every time I saw a child being held down ... I felt guilty. I felt like I should run in there with the Buzzy prototype I had in my pocket.
–Dr. Amy Baxter
Baxter used the Buzzy on patients in the ER of her hospital but wanted the product to be available to kids everywhere.
"Every time I saw a child being held down ... I felt guilty," she told NPR.org. "I felt like I should run in there with the Buzzy prototype I had in my pocket."
Buzzy launched in 2009 and Baxter has sold 30,000 units at just under $40. This year, they're on target to bring in $1 million in sales.
Baxter said that doctors have been reluctant to use her product because they're generally more apathetic when it comes to a patient's pain level, but that hasn't stopped her company from tripling their sales over the past year. They plan to expand and roll out their product for people with arthritis and people on dialysis.
"We haven't advertised," Baxter said. "It's really been patients telling other patients, and moms telling other moms."