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Time for a vaccine? How to ease kids' fear of needles

Doctor placing a bandaid on child. Immunizations are a vital part of your child's healthcare. But even grownups know that needles are no fun! As a parent, there's a lot you can do to help your child cope with getting a shot.

Try these tips:

Ask for advice. Your child's doctor can give you ideas for making shots easier on your little one.

Bring a comfort item from home. This might be a favorite toy, book or stuffed animal.

Be honest and upbeat. Even though your child is very young, you should still talk to them about the shot. It's best to be open and honest. Instead of saying it won't hurt, you can say something like it might feel like a little pinch. Tell your child that shots help keep us from getting sick.

Ask for pain relief. Your doctor can put a numbing cream or spray on your child's skin. Or you can ask the doctor to give your child a sweet solution of sucrose or glucose a minute or two before the shot. This can reduce the pain a little bit.

Stay calm before, during and after the shot. Remember, kids may pick up on your mood.

Create a distraction. Get your child's attention right before they receive the shot. Hum a tune. Call your child's name. Talk softly while making eye contact. Or make a funny face.

Offer comfort after the shot. Remember to hug, hold and praise your child.

Sources: American Academy of PediatricsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

Reviewed 8/29/2023

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