The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of three local, topical anesthetics on touch response thresholds of the paws of 1-day-old rats. Touch response thresholds were measured using Semmes Weinstein monofilaments after treatment of the paws with EMLA (2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine), alcaine (.5% proparacaine), triocaine (20% benzocaine, 6% lidocaine, and 4% tetracaine), or petroleum jelly (treatment control). Touch thresholds significantly increased after treatment with EMLA 18% of the time, and there was no evidence of a systemic effect. Touch thresholds were not significantly altered after treatment with alcaine, triocaine, or petroleum jelly. Therefore, EMLA appears to be a slightly effective topical anesthetic for reducing tactile sensitivity in newborn rats. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 56: 126–132, 2014.