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As part of their health care, children and adolescents often experience painful and distressing medical interventions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) recommends an average of 28 immunization injections during the first 6 years of life. Diagnostic tests such as venipuncture are common experiences. In addition, many children also experience more invasive, painful, and anxiety-provoking medical procedures. For example, more than 6 million children are hospitalized annually (Elixhauser 2008), with another 9.5 million children being seen in emergency departments (Bloom et al. 2009). Those with serious physical conditions are at an even greater risk for experiencing an increased number of medical procedures. Taken together, the issue of preparation for medical procedures is critical for a large population of children and adolescents.

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