A hug is the best way to comfort a child, right? Well not according to research carried out by the University of Siena in Italy.

Carried out on 69 children, the research revealed that the best way to comfort your child during medical procedures maybe to turn the TV on.

It turns out that those who were watching a cartoon during the obtaining of a blood sample experienced far less pain than those with no distraction or even those comforted by their mum.

While the group who were distracted by their mum recorded middling responses to the injections, those who were watching a cartoon recorded pain levels three times lower than those with no distraction.

"Our results support the benefit of introducing a distracting environment during minor painful procedures in children: the higher pain level reported by children during mothers' efforts at distraction shows the difficulty mothers have in interacting positively at a difficult moment in their children's life", the study noted.

The research will be published in the next edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.