According to Dr Denise Harrison from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, giving infants -up to 12 months in age - less than half a teaspoon of sugary liquid, helps to reduce crying and pain associated with vaccination.

The study which is available online in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood, involves large-scale statistical analysis of combined vaccination data from 1,618 infants.

Giving sugar solutions orally to newborns prior to painful procedures, is known to be effective at cutting the pain edge, says Dr Harrison. However, new research is needed to prove it works for older babies as well.

The scientists studied the incidence of crying by assessing the length of time the infants cried, their pain levels through analyzing their facial expression, arm and leg movements, breathing and heart rate.

Although, the sugary liquid does make a difference, an ideal dose of sugar given is yet to be identified due to a wide range of volumes and concentrations used in the different trials.

Registered nurse Karen Booth, who is also on the board of directors of the Australian Practice Nurses Association is delighted with the new findings and hopes they will influence parents in a positive way in matters of immunization of their children.

Dr Harrison, however advices that this technique should not be applied at home as its effect is short-lasting and parents could end up giving their children more sugar than they need to, which is teeth-damaging.