01/07/2016 09:50 EST | Updated 01/07/2017 00:12 EST

Peace of mind part of reducing pain and fear for kids at Calgary hospital

CALGARY — Children receiving emergency treatment at Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary are getting more of a say in relaying how much pain they are in.

The new initiative was launched last fall after a survey of kids indicated 15 per cent said they would have taken pain medicine but none was offered to them, while 18 per cent said they felt their pain was not being managed effectively.

Dr. Antonia Stang says young patients are now given an individual, bookmark-sized pain scale to help them describe their pain, and to help staff more accurately understand the level of each person's pain.

She says part of the problem is many patients are afraid pain medication would result in the use of a needle but often ice packs or needle-free medication would have been available.

They are also using toys and tablet computers to help their patients take their minds off their injuries.

Five-year-old Micah Shaw was happily playing a game on an iPad while getting treatment on her broken arm.