This paper describes a new research project that aims to develop an autonomous and responsive social robot designed to help children cope with painful procedures in hospital emergency departments. While this is an application domain where psychological interventions have been previously demonstrated to be effective at reducing pain and distress using a variety of devices and techniques, in recent years, social robots have been trialled in this area with promising initial results. However, until now, the social robots that have been tested have generally been teleoperated, which has limited their flexibility and robustness, as well as the potential to offer personalized, adaptive procedural support. Using co-design techniques, this project plans to define and validate the necessary robot behaviour together with participant groups that include children, parents and caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Identified behaviours will be deployed on a robot platform, incorporating AI reasoning techniques that will enable the robot to adapt autonomously to the child’s behaviour. The final robot system will be evaluated through a two-site clinical trial. Throughout the project, we will also monitor and analyse the ethical and social implications of robotics and AI in paediatric healthcare.