There are things parents and caregivers can do to help children who are afraid of needles. If your child is old enough to understand they are going to the doctor for a shot, do not keep it a secret. It is better to prepare them for the doctor’s visit ahead of time. Use words like pinch and poke to create a positive story instead of using the words pain or shot which tend to have a negative connotation. Explain how the shot is a preventative tool to keep them healthy. Before heading to the pediatrician’s office parents and caregivers should make a plan together to help the child feel comfortable. Make sure to share this plan with the doctor.
Here are a few suggestions and options that may help ensure your child’s immunizations are better received:
- A parent can hold children to help them feel safe and keep them still.
- If you have a baby, sing or distract them with a toy.
- Ask the doctor about numbing creams and sprays that reduce pain — these are often sold over-the-counter.
- Breastfeeding can be a great way to calm and relax your baby. Additionally, breastmilk has a slight sweetness, which can help reduce your child’s pain during shots.
- Bring your child’s favorite thing. Bring anything your child finds comforting, like a favorite toy, blanket, or book, to help them focus on something pleasant.
- Big kids need support, too. If your child is older, you can take deep breaths with them to help “blow out” the pain.
Your child may have mild reactions, such as pain and swelling where the shot was given or a fever; these are common and will soon go away. Contact your child’s doctor if anything concerns you.
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About Pediatrics of Florence
We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.
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