Many children have a fear of shots. And many parents have dealt with the agony of holding a screaming child down while a nurse pokes them with a needle. But shots are necessary for a child's health and well-being. If the mere mention of the doctor's office sends your child into a panic, then plan ahead for those visits that require shots.
Talk to Your Child About the Importance of Immunizations
Be sure and talk to your child about how important immunizations are for them. Tell them immunizations help keep them from getting really sick. Put it in terms that they can understand such as immunizations help keep the bad germs out that make them sick and if they get sick they won't be able go outside and play or go swimming. Be honest with your child. Let them know that shots do hurt but only for a very short period of time and if they get sick it will last for a lot longer.
Numb the Injection Site
Ask your doctor for a prescription for a topical anesthetic cream that you can apply to the injection site. The cream needs time to take effect, so apply it about an hour before the scheduled vaccine. You can also try applying an ice pack to the injection site a few minutes before shot time can take the sting out of shots.
Massage the Injection Site
Shots hurt less when the skin and muscles around the injection site are relaxed. Just before needle time, hold your child on your lap and gently massage the injection site.
Distract Your Child
Sometimes you can ease the pain of the injection by distracting the child with another activity. You can blow some bubbles, read a story, let them listen to music on a headset, or bring along a portable DVD player with their favorite movie.
Offer a Reward
Some children will stay calm and get their shots without a fit if you offer them some incentive. You can tell them you will take them to the park, take them to get ice cream, or buy them a special toy.
Spread Out Your Visits
Many times three, four, or even five shots may be required to keep your child's immunizations on schedule. Instead of having your child get all the shots at once maybe they could be spread out over time. However, with some children it might be a better idea to get them all done and over with at once instead of prolonging it.
Some of the newer vaccines are packaged in combinations that require fewer injections. Talk with your pediatrician about what's best for your child. For the yearly flu vaccinations, there is a mist offered that is given through the nose instead of an injection. This might eliminate one yearly shot.
Another option if your child is receiving more than one vaccination, is to ask if two nurses can give the injections at the same time. Some children grow out of their fear of shots, while others never do and grow up to be adults with this phobia. However, it is wise to find out what works best to calm your child so that they can get these much-needed immunizations.
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