Don't like needles? Try Bubble Wrap


James Gentry, like many 12-year-olds, hates getting shots.

So with the painful experience of back-to-school shots fresh in his mind this fall, he came up with a creative way to use Bubble Wrap to dispense medicine through a patient’s skin.

Gentry, a sixth-grader at Brooklake Christian School in Federal Way, is one of 15 semi-finalists in the Bubble Wrap Competition for Young Inventors, sponsored by Sealed Air, the creator of the trademarked Bubble Wrap.

He was chosen from more than 1,400 entries. If Gentry earns a spot as one of the top three finalists, he will receive a trip to New York City. The winner will receive a $10,000 savings bond.

When Gentry’s teacher asked the class to come up with a creative use for Bubble Wrap, he thought back to the doctor’s office and that long needle coming toward his arm.

“Popping a bubble, that’s much better than seeing the needle,” he said.

He asked his family pharmacist at Virginia Mason in Federal Way if medicine could instead be absorbed into the skin. She told him there were several medicines that would work using this method, so he proceeded with his plan.

“My doctor told me that it would work,” Gentry said.

The invention works when the Bubble Wrap is full of medicine and the patient pops the bubble, spreading the medicine out so it slowly absorbs into the skin.

“It’s supposed to help kids not be afraid of shots,” Gentry said. “I was thinking of a way of doing it so that the kids would be distracted.”

Gentry hopes that his invention wins first place and becomes standard practice in doctor’s offices before he is due for his next set of shots next year.

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

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