The practice of maternal kissing of minor injuries of childhood (boo-boos), though widely endorsed and practised, has never been demonstrated to be of benefit to children.Objective
To determine the efficacy, if any, of maternal kissing of boo-boos in toddlers.Design
Randomized, controlled and double-blinded study of children with experimentally induced minor injuries. Control arms included both no intervention group and ‘sham’ (non-maternal) kissing. Children were blinded to the identity of the kisser in both the maternal and sham control groups.Setting
Outpatient research clinics in Ottawa, Canada.Participants
943 maternal–toddler pairs recruited from the community.Measurements
Toddler Discomfort Index (TDI) pre-injury, 1 and 5 minutes post-injury.Results
One-minute and 5-minute TDI scores did not differ significantly between the maternal and sham kiss groups. Both of these groups had significantly higher TDI scores at 5 minutes compared to the no intervention group.Conclusions
Maternal kissing of boo-boos confers no benefit on children with minor traumatic injuries compared to both no intervention and sham kissing. In fact, children in the maternal kissing group were significantly more distressed at 5 minutes than were children in the no intervention group. The practice of maternal kissing of boo-boos is not supported by the evidence and we recommend a moratorium on the practice.