Many children dread coming to the doctor for fear of shots. And can you blame them? So what can a parent do to make these visits a bit more tolerable? Here are a few strategies to make vaccines a little easier.
Distraction is key
There are several distraction techniques you can try with your child. Pull out a new toy or a bottle of bubbles to blow just as the needle goes in. Use your phone or tablet to play a video or your child’s favorite cartoon.
A study done a few years back in the journal Pediatrics even suggested that having your older child cough before and during the shots reduces pain, presumably because they are distracted.
Tips for infants
Sometimes, infants are the easiest when it comes to shots because they can’t talk back! You could try nursing your baby during the shots or giving your older baby a sweet drink, such as apple juice, just before the shot. Studies show that this trick worked for a majority of infants in the study to limit crying.
Make them comfortable
You can give your infant a pacifier during the shots to soothe him or her. Also breastfeeding immediately after the shots can help to soothe a crying baby.
For older children, positioning is key. You can put them facing you on your lap and have them hug you during the shot, and that may provide them some comfort.
Use a numbing cream
There are skin-numbing creams available by prescription to help alleviate some of the pain associated with shots. They need to be applied up to an hour before the injection.
Talk to your child’s doctor to see if this could be an option for your child.